The race to be the next MPP for Kenora-Rainy River finally is starting to heat up.
Fort Frances resident Matt Soprovich, the executive director of the Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau, has announced he’ll be seeking the local NDP nomination for the June 7 provincial election.
“I’ve been considering this for a long, long time now, and I think that it’s finally time to get off the fence and start this journey,” Soprovich told the Times on Monday afternoon.
“With the state of Ontario politics as it stands today, I think that there’s no better time to offer voters what I believe is a better option,” he noted.
“At the heart of it I believe that job of a politician is pretty straightforward,” said Soprovich.
“Show up, try hard, care. Put the hours in.
“Genuinely care to try to make life a little better along the way for those in your communities,” he added. “Try to move the stakes.”
Soprovich said he wants to build on the strong representation the NDP has in Kenora-Rainy River.
He noted it was no small feat that for many years the provincial party was led by Fort Frances native and “indefatigable local boy,” Howard Hampton.
“I think that, in itself, speaks volumes about the ability for our small community to make an impact on the greater world of politics,” said Soprovich.
“Up in these parts, being an effective politician means being loud and outspoken,” he noted. “We’re the farthest corner away from Toronto and the easiest to get lost in the shuffle.
“Time and time again, we find that in order to get our point across, we have to shout twice as loud to get heard half as well,” he reasoned.
“If we don’t have a strong and powerful voice willing to stand up and advocate for our region, we risk being completely forgotten about and totally overlooked.”
Being an MPP is not for everyone, though, Soprovich conceded.
“This job is a great responsibility and should be treated as such,” he remarked.
“Your salary is paid directly by the people of your riding,” he explained. “They are your bosses. You work for them. And a politician should never forget that.
“We need someone who will show up, try hard, and care–and I think I’d be good at that job.”
Soprovich believes the track record of the Ontario Liberal Party, at this point, is one filled with “ineptitude, arrogance, mismanagement, and entitlement.”
“I believe that their irresponsible and reckless decision-making has risked doing serious long-term damage to the good of this province,” he charged.
“We only need to look at our monthly hydro bills to see the damage that years of Liberal schemes have caused,” he said.
“Ontarians have been over-charged billions of dollars due to the bizarre and haphazard decisions made by our current government.
“We deserve better than this.”
Soprovich also expressed his doubt about the Ontario Progressive Conservatives.
“If this [past] weekend has shown us anything, it’s that if the Ontario PCs can’t even figure out how to run a convention properly, how could we trust their abilities running our government?” he mused.
“Time will tell what Doug Ford claims to believe in,” Soprovich added. “The PCs have given us no answers over their internal drama of the last two months, only questions.
“Do they support a carbon tax or don’t they? Does Doug Ford suddenly plan on dredging the abortion debate from the swamp?” he noted.
“What kind of disarray and shenanigans will happen next?
“It seems like the election plans of the Ontario PCs are written on the back of a cocktail napkin in crayon,” he quipped.
To Soprovich, the choice is clear.
“I think that it may be time that voters seriously consider ‘Door Number Three,'” he remarked.
“The New Democratic Party may not be perfect. It may not have all the answers,” he conceded. “But wouldn’t even an adequate political party be a significant improvement from the chaos and disorder that these other two are?
“I, for one, believe that there’s room for a political party that would focus on responsible decision-making,” Soprovich said.
“One that understands the value of our public services. One that would focus on the people of Ontario rather than their cronies.
“One that understands wise and prudent financial investment,” he noted. “One that respects labour and unions.
“I believe that Ontario has the ability to carve a better path forward than the one that we’ve found ourselves on now,” Soprovich stressed. “I believe that the people of the north deserve someone in this riding who will put their needs first.
“Someone who will stand up and stand out in a crowd. Someone who will get our voices heard.
“I think that we need someone with a bit of a chip on their shoulder and something to prove,” he added.
“And I think that we need someone who realizes that the job of a politician comes with the expectation and the obligation to the people of your riding to represent them,” he noted.
“To show up, to try hard, and to genuinely care. And I believe that this person should be me.”
Soprovich stressed he’s just getting started, and will be posting more of his thoughts, plans, and philosophies on his new Facebook page, which can be found at facebook.com/votemattsop
The NDP nomination has to be won, as well. No date has been set for the nomination meeting yet but with the writ dropping less than in two months, time is of the essence, he noted.
Anyone who would like to join the Ontario New Democrats, and vote in the upcoming nomination meeting, can do so by going online to ontariondp.ca and becoming a member of the party, Soprovich said.
“It’s an exciting time to be involved in politics,” he enthused. “We have the ability to determine our future, and I think that we have the opportunity to carve out a promising one as the people of the north.
“I hope that you all can accompany me along this journey of ours.
“My name is Matt Soprovich, and I’d like it very much if you all became my new bosses,” he said.