THUNDER BAY – NEWS – Monday night, an NDP motion to fix the Conservatives’ Nutrition North – a program that has failed to ensure Northerners have secure access to nutritious and affordable food – was defeated in the House of Commons.
“The sad reality is that Nutrition North has failed northerners, and the impacts of poor nutrition can be devastating,” said NDP candidate for Thunder Bay – Superior North, Andrew Foulds. “Bruce Hyer failed to vote in favour of the NDP motion that is essential to communities in Northern Ontario.”
A New Democrat-triggered Auditor General report found that the Nutrition North program has had minimal impact on food costs; lacked transparency or accountability; and that over 50 communities that should be receiving subsidies under the program are being left out.
“This legislation would help people in his riding,” said NDP MP John Rafferty (Thunder Bay-Rainy River). “If Mr. Hyer had a legitimate reason for missing this vote, he should explain himself.”
Tom Mulcair’s NDP knows that Nutrition North program funding must reflect the real circumstances that northerners are facing and improve the well-being of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians in Northern Canada.
Bruce Hyer responds, “Lots of NDP members miss lots of votes. I have assumed that they had valid reasons for missing them. Especially since most votes right now are symbolic, given that Harper has a ‘false majority’ under our flawed and bizarre and antiquated first-past-the-post electoral system. With 39% of the popular vote, he has 60% of the seats, and 100% of dictatorial control. His caucus votes robot-like as he dictates… but then so does the NDP. Don’t forget Mr. Mulcair’s promise that “I guarantee that will take back OUR NDP SEAT in Thunder Bay-Superior North”.
“The NDP press release is a pretty cheap political shot, but we are into the hyper-partisan silly season now, so journalists will have to decide what is foolish stuff vs. real concerns. I have 33 non-aboriginal and 9 aboriginal communities in 120,000 square kilometers that I serve. They come before photo ops on CPAC on symbolic votes on feel-good motions. The NDP motion was good, and had I been there I would have voted for it. ”
“Balance between constituency work and parliamentary work is the chief challenge of an MP’s job,” Hyer comments. “As it so happens on Monday and Tues I had meetings in Beardmore, Jellicoe, Geraldton, and several First Nations, all entailing driving almost 1000 kilometers in two days. Two were of special import. Greenstone Municipal Council asked me to meet with them Monday night (vote time) at their public meeting in Caramat, to make a presentation on my plan to revive and restore VIA Rail on both the North Shore AND the CN line through Caramat, Longlac, Nakina, Armstrong, Collins (Naymaygoosisagagun), Allanwater, Savant Lake and Sioux Lookout. I will not give up on this issue, and will soon be releasing a major report and recommendations on VIA”.
Hyer adds, “Another important meeting was with recently re-elected Rocky Bay Chief Bart Hardy. I am pretty sure of the outcome of the October election. In Thunder Bay-Superior North no one need worry about splitting their vote: the Conservatives have not won here since 1931… 84 years! The voters can and will decide between three non-Conservative choices, two who will have to do as their leaders and whips direct, and one who has worked tirelessly for 7 years for his constituents. Most of them know that”.
Looking at this fall’s election Hyer states, “Nationally, it will be a minority government. If a Conservative minority (unlikely), it will last a few days or months. No one can work with Harper, and he cannot work with anyone. It will be either a Liberal or NDP minority, it is clear. And there is a very good likelihood that the Green Party will help to hold the balance of power… and Thunder Bay-Superior North constituents can help to clean up Canada both politically and environmentally”.