Jobs key issue here

Mike Behan

The economy—and specifically jobs—was the biggest local issue this campaign for most of the candidates seeking to represent Thunder Bay-Rainy River in Ottawa following Monday’s election.
“Job loss in Northwest Ontario in the number-one issue in Thunder Bay-Rainy River,” incumbent MP John Rafferty (NDP) said in his e-mailed response to the Times.
“In the last year alone, 13,000 jobs have been lost in Northern Ontario.
“At the same time, the Conservatives have cut millions [of dollars] from FedNor and left unspent tens of millions of dollars that were supposed to help create jobs,” he charged.
Rafferty also took aim at the Liberals.
“The Liberal platform does not contain one word about Northwest Ontario, let alone have a plan for job creation here,” he noted.
“The NDP would upgrade FedNor and increase its funding,” Rafferty pledged.
“We would invest in youth job creation and apprenticeships,” he added.
Liberal candidate Don Rusnak agreed the biggest local issue is the economy.
“Too many people have lost jobs, have reduced business revenue, or would like their kids to have jobs and settle in this area,” he remarked.
“We’ll make the smart investments we need now to get our economy moving again,” he vowed.
“By investing in infrastructure and cutting taxes for the middle class, we’ll create jobs, put more money in the pockets of local families, and grow the economy.”
For Conservative hopeful Moe Comuzzi, the biggest issue she found when talking to voters were concerns the Liberal and NDP parties will raise taxes to pay for their deficit spending.
“With no plan to pay for infrastructure investments and increased social programs, voters fear these programs will be paid for through increased taxes,” she remarked.
“With these parties also campaigning to raise corporate taxes as well, many workers are afraid of job losses as large corporations relocate south of the border,” Comuzzi added.
The candidates also differed in describing the mood of voters during the campaign.
“People are tired of Harper’s politics of fear and division, his disregard for democratic practices,” Rusnak said in his e-mailed response.
“The gutting of environmental assessments, and his damaged relationship with First Nations and Métis in the area.
“People want change both in the Prime Minister’s office and the local MP’s office,” Rusnak concluded.
Rafferty agreed voters are looking for change this election.
“They are fed up with the Harper government scandals over the last 10 years and are tired of trying to make do with less,” he said.
“And Justin Trudeau doesn’t care about Northwestern Ontario,” Rafferty reiterated.
“Voters are telling me that only the NDP have been looking out for them.”
Comuzzi said she found many voters were paying attention to this election.
“On the doorstep, voters have been open to hearing the views of the Conservative Party and how we plan to keep taxes low while creating good-paying permanent jobs in the region,” she noted.