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MPs Encourages Residents to Speak Out

By Randy Thoms Sep 24, 2022 | 10:43 PM

Existing riding boundary marked in black. Proposed boundary changes marked in purpose.

Hearings into proposed changes to some federal ridings in Ontario will kick off on Monday.

A series of in-person and virtual meetings are planned.

One of the proposals impacted the northwestern Ontario ridings of Thunder Bay-Rainy and Kenora.

The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission of Commission is recommending Thunder Bay-Rainy River be expanded to include the southern portion of the Kenora riding.

The riding’s MP Marcus Powlowski doesn’t believe the Commission has taken into the unique challenges MPs have representing northern Ontario.

“If you look at what they’ve done, I think they put all the emphasis on creating ridings of equal size population, and they’ve come to the conclusion in their initial report, the ridings in northern Ontario, with the new boundaries, as they’ve suggested, they say there are reasonable geographic size. Maybe if you’re sitting in Toronto looking at a map, it would only extend my riding by half an inch, but that half an inch, in reality, is a whole lot of kilometres driving,” notes Powlowski.

Powlowski feels there are too many diverse interests within a riding the size being proposed.

He plans to be a part of public meeting when they begin.

He encourages others to do the same.

“I certainly encourage the public, who are interested, to either send something to the Commission or let them know that you want to appear in one of those hearings. But if you’re going to do so, you have to do so by September 25,” says Powlowski.

There are only two in-person hearings planned in northwestern Ontario.

They will occur in Kenora on October 4 and in Sioux Lookout on October 3.

There are virtual meetings for northern Ontario residents on October 26 and 29.

Powlowski would like to see more meetings.

“If they want public consultation, then they have to make it easier for the public to participate. To have one meeting in Sioux Lookout and one meeting in Kenora – it’s a long drive from Thunder Bay to Sioux Lookout again, kind of suggesting that the Commission really doesn’t comprehend the realities of life in northern Ontario.”

Powlowski worries the Commission is stacking the deck by not having a meeting in Thunder Bay where it would attract a lot of people who would object to a larger riding.



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