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Phoning it in

Dear editor:

Sarah Campbell has the honour of representing the people of Kenora-Rainy River in the Ontario legislature.

She is paid $116,500 per year, plus a housing allowance, to do so. And yet, it is increasingly apparent she cannot be bothered to show up for work.

The recent process which led to the splitting of Kenora-Rainy River (Ontario's largest riding) into the ridings of Kenora-Rainy River and Kiiwetinoong is a telling example of her absenteeism and ineffectiveness.

Ms. Campbell is opposed to this initiative—an initiative that squarely is designed to improve the representation of our region at Queen's Park and to strengthen our voice in government.

Her protest is inexplicable and, frankly, lazy.

Earlier this fall, Ms. Campbell told the Dryden Observer that the process which recommended the new electoral map amounted to “gerrymandering.”

Gerrymandering refers to manipulating the boundaries of a riding so as to favour a particular party. By installing the non-partisan Far North Electoral Boundaries Commission to undertake consultations, the government guaranteed the absence of undue political influence.

Ms. Campbell clearly doesn't know what gerrymandering is since her comment came at a time that the bill was before the legislature-implying that it was the job of politicians to engage in extended consultation and rework the electoral map.

Doing that is precisely how you open the door to gerrymandering.

The Commission's recommendation was tabled as Bill 152, which now is passed and enacted, but for some reason, Ms. Campbell is continuing her protest. This is very bizarre because the legislature's records show she didn't show up for the committee meetings or the legislature's final vote-a vote on a bill conceived almost entirely for the benefit of her riding; that was supported by the rest of the NDP caucus.

It would seem to me that if you do not vote, you lose the right to complain.

But Ms. Campbell also declined to participate in the process at other times, as well. It does not appear that at any time during the spring and summer she used her platform as an MPP to encourage the public to participate in the Commission's consultations, and she did not participate in the legislative committee that reviewed the bill.

The committee's planned visit to Kenora was cancelled because no one expressed interest in appearing.

Being our voice on matters of local impact and engaging the electorate in locally-relevant public policy matters is the entire job of an MPP, and Ms. Campbell did nothing but complain after the ink was dry on the Royal Assent.

And this is not an isolated incident. A review of Hansard and voting records since the last election to the end of June, 2017 shows that Ms. Campbell has been active in the legislature for about a quarter of sitting days.

Most people would be fired if their attendance was that bad.

Ms. Campbell has yet to indicate whether she intends to seek re-election, or which of our region's new ridings she intends to run in.

Pity the one she chooses because both of these ridings require focused, conscientious representation at Queen's Park-not a part-time MPP phoning it in on a six-figure salary.

Sincerely,

Douglas W. Judson

Fort Frances, Ont.

Editor's note: Mr. Judson is seeking to be the Progressive Conservative candidate for Kenora-Rainy River in the next provincial election.

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