Provincial representatives from the NDP are advocating for more help for northwestern Ontario.

As part of Dryden’s pre-budget meetings, one of only eight across the province, the Ontario NDP’s finance critic Sandy Shaw, Environment and Sustainability critic Ian Arthur and Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa were pushing the province for more support in the region. The pre-budget meeting’s recommendations will help shape the province’s new budget this spring.

“We’re here to hear what the people of Ontario are concerned about,” said Shaw. “Hospitals, education, fundamental services, we’re hearing that people are quite concerned about the signals coming from this Ford government, and their readiness to cut and privatize.”

"That’s not what people are asking for. A budget shows you what the province’s values are, and we want to make sure that what Ontarian’s value are reflected in this budget. The north faces additional struggles, and the depth of those struggles, are shocking,” Shaw added.

They were joined by a variety of community partners at the event, including representation from the City of Kenora, the Municipality of Sioux Lookout, the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board, Firefly, Resolute, Domtar, the Dryden Regional Health Centre, and much more.

This is a system that is already struggling. It struggled for 15 years under the Liberals. These systems were already broken, and they’re only going to get worse under this new budget,” said Arthur.

“Trying to recruit professionals to the area is a big concern for the area. People are having trouble hiring people, and finding accommodations for those people, in Kenora, Red Lake, Fort Frances, Dryden, everywhere – and it’s worse in First Nation communities. Access to habitable housing is an issue for the region. I hope the government is listening, because we’re listening,” said Mamakwa.

A number of health-care staff from across the region were also part of the pre-budget event
s. They were rallying against proposed health-care cuts, and were joined by Mamakwa and Arthur.

For more information:
‘People in our communities are hurting,’ Mamakwa
NWO health-care workers rally in Dryden

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