A fifth candidate has thrown her hat into the ring for the Oct. 6 provincial election.
Charmaine Romaniuk officially filed papers this past Sunday to run as a candidate for the Northern Ontario Heritage Party in the Kenora-Rainy River riding.
“I’ve always been kind of really passionate about Northern Ontario area,” said the 26-year-old Romaniuk from Kenora, who is currently studying anthropology at Lakehead University.
Romaniuk said she chose to run after hearing that the small Northern Ontario Heritage Party might have to disband.
“I thought it would be just a shame to waste a Northern Ontario interest, so I put my name forth,” she said.
So far, the party only has one other candidate running—Gerry Courville, for the riding of Timiskaming-Cochrane.
Having just announced her candidacy, Romaniuk admitted she’s “absolutely” at a disadvantage compared to other candidates who have been out canvassing and rallying support for weeks prior to the official election writ being dropped last Wednesday.
“I haven’t been able to talk to the people yet, to get the feel of how they’re feeling. I’m hoping to get some more input from the public,” she said, noting that over the next few weeks, she’ll try and reach out to communities especially in the more remote northern areas of the riding.
“My plan is to just get a feel of what everybody wants, how everybody actually feels,” she said. “I think that the other candidates are not focusing on the issues that we really need to deal with.”
Jobs, and keeping resources in Northern Ontario are the big issue, she said.
“I’m heavily invested in the area,” she said. “I’m Métis, I’m from the area, my family has fished and hunted here.”
“We want to keep our resources here in Northern Ontario and we want to develop policies that help us have more control over the resources that are in the area,” she said, pointing to the need to keep mining resources local, how mills have been shut down and the need for jobs to keep youth in the area.
As part of her studies, Romaniuk most recently completed a field school in archaeology to remove ancient artifacts located within the route of the highway expansion occurring northeast of Thunder Bay.
She sits on both the Lake of the Woods Museum board, and municipal heritage board.
“Just getting out there—that’s pretty much on the agenda,” she said about her plans between now and when voters head to the polls. “Going to talk to people, answer some questions, take some questions.”
Meanwhile, NDP candidate, Sarah Campbell was the first of those running to officially file for her candidacy this past Saturday at the local Fort Frances Elections Ontario office.
Progressive Conservative Candidate, Rod McKay opened up his campaign offices across the district as of this Monday. Locally, the Fort Frances Office is located at 258 Scott Street, with a special “opening” evening scheduled for Friday Sept. 17 with a “Lunch with Rod: Blue Blitz” public event planned.