A job well done

With the announcement of his resignation last Friday, Howard Hampton is bringing to a close his work representing the people of Kenora-Rainy River at Queen’s Park. The riding has had a history of electing long-term members to sit in the chamber and each has made an impact on the legislation of Ontario.
Winning the riding did not come easy to Howard, but he persisted and became our member, then held two cabinet positions in the NDP government from 1990-95. They were difficult years, and the province was faced with hard choices and huge deficits.
He persisted and under his direction as the Minister of Natural Resources, a review of wood availability took place across the province. In Barwick and Kenora, OSB plants were constructed and continue to operate today.
Back in opposition, he challenged for and won the leadership of the New Democrat Party and lead the party through a rebuilding phase. On provincial election nights, the province came to Fort Frances.
Howard will be most remembered for trying to bring better electrical rates to the mines, and mills of Northern Ontario, and particularly, Northwestern Ontario. In the 2007 election, he proposed establishing a Northern Ontario Hydro-Electrical Corporation owned and operated by the people of Northern Ontario.
In 2003, he successfully campaigned against the privatization of Ontario Hydro.
Often, Howard has been the white knight helping constituents with health and employment issues.
He has worked tirelessly and could be found almost every weekend at some location in the district, taking time from his wife and two children to work for people of the riding.
The last time I met with “Howie” in his office, the office was filled with hockey equipment that he was taking to northern Aboriginal communities. The equipment had been donated by friends in Queens Park and the teams he played hockey with in Toronto.
His constituents and Ontario were always first in Howard’s mind.