New Democrats across the province are hoping for change on Thursday. Local NDP representatives Glen Archer and Sol Mamakwa are no different – both are hoping for more political representation from northwestern Ontario.
Potential Kenora Rainy-River representative Archer, a former correctional officer in Kenora and 33-year member of the Ontario Public Services Employees Union, is familiar with a variety of issues in the area – especially those surrounding the privatization of public services. Keeping services in the public’s hands will be high on his to-do list, if he’s elected later this week.
Other issues on Archer’s agenda include the safety of roads in the area, reducing skyrocketing hydro rates, addressing local health-care crisis’ and reducing barriers for First Nation and Metis communities.
Potential Kiiwetinoong representative Mamakwa, from Kingfisher Lake First Nation, has repeatedly spoke about improving access to health-care for isolated northern communities, investments to improve airports for fly-in communities and reducing hospital overcrowding.
Other issues on his agenda include providing clean drinking water for First Nation communities, the clean-up of the English and Wabigoon River System and providing supports for youth in crisis.
The new Kiiwetinoong riding, which includes Sioux Lookout, Red Lake, Ear Falls, Wabaseemoong First Nation, Pikangikum First Nation and Grassy Narrows First Nation, has roughly 30,000 constituents spread out over 300,000 square kilometres. Kiiwetinoong inlcudes 33 First Nation communities and four municipalities. The riding’s population is 68 per cent Indigenous.
The new riding was created by Queen's Park in October. It created a new riding in both northwestern and northeastern Ontario. The legislation will result in a total of four ridings in Northern Ontario, where previously there were two. They include Kiiwetinoong, Mushkegowuk-James Bay, Timmins, and Kenora-Rainy River.