I am writing to voice my support for the Far North Electoral Boundaries Commission.
The commission has been struck to make recommendations to the provincial government about whether to create one or two additional electoral ridings out of the current ridings of Kenora-Rainy River and Timmins-James Bay.
While I am a candidate for the nomination of the Ontario PC Party, this is not a partisan issue. All of the major political parties are agreed on the importance of improving representation for northern communities at Queen's Park, and of the need to balance the principle of “rep by pop” with the geographic challenge of representing regions as large as Kenora-Rainy River or Timmins-James Bay with one MPP.
It also is widely acknowledged that improving the participation, representation, and voice of First Nations' communities in our government institutions in a crucial step toward achieving the vision of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its calls to action.
To this end, the electoral boundaries commission is tasked with consulting with the communities, indigenous groups, and other interested parties in our region in order to craft its recommendations.
Faced with a tight timeline, the commission's consultation process is confronting some of the same public outreach and geographic challenges that it hopes to resolve through improved political representation for the north.
For instance, a recent article in the Daily Miner and News reported that only a handful of people attended a session in Kenora—one of four currently scheduled for the northwest (no in-person consultations have been announced for Rainy River District).
In speaking with area residents, I know this is a topic of much interest. As such, I encourage all interested individuals and organizations to read more about the commission's work at www.fnebc.ca
You also can contact the commission with your views by calling 1-844-853-0958, e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or writing to the FNEBC, 101-981 Balmoral St., Thunder Bay, Ont., P7B 0A6.
Douglas W. Judson