The final report of the Far North Electoral Boundaries Commission released yesterday recommends that two new northern ridings be created–an announcement met with approval from local lawyer Douglas Judson, who now will be seeking the PC party nomination for Kenora-Rainy River.
The government plans to introduce legislation this fall to implement the commission’s recommendation to create two new ridings, called Kiiwetinong and Mushkegowuk.
If passed, these reforms would result in a total of four ridings in the area:
•Kenora-Rainy River, including Dryden, Fort Frances, Kenora and Rainy River;
•Kiiwetinong, including the northern portion of the former riding of Kenora-Rainy River;
•Mushkegowuk, including Weenusk (Peawanuck) First Nation; and
•Timmins, including the City of Timmins.
The commission highlights that Kiiwetinong would be a majority Indigenous riding and that Mushkegowuk would be a majority Francophone riding.
“I am delighted to see enhanced representation for the Northwest,” said Judson.
“It has always been challenging for a single representative to voice the interests of a region as large as Kenora–Rainy River, with such a wide range of economic, health, and public service needs,” he added.
“I welcome the recommendation of the Commission and encourage the Attorney General and all parties in the Legislature to expedite its passage into law,” noted Judson.
Judson mentioned he has been informed by Ontario PC Party officials that they have been waiting for the Commission to finalize its recommendation prior to proceeding with nominations in the regions which could be impacted.
“Now that we have the Commission’s Final Report, it is my intention to seek the party’s nomination in the new riding of Kenora–Rainy River,” he remarked.
This new riding will consist primarily of the communities of Kenora, Dryden, Fort Frances, Rainy River, and points between, he added.
“I wish to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to those individuals from communities that will soon form part of the new riding of Kiiwetinoong for their support of my campaign,” concluded Judson.
Attorney General Yasir Naqvi stated yesterday that he would like to thank the Far North Electoral Boundaries Commission “for its work to ensure the voices of people living in Ontario’s north continue to be heard in the provincial legislature.”
The government tasked the commissioners with looking at how representation could be improved in our province’s two largest and northernmost ridings: Kenora-Rainy River and Timmins-James Bay.
Throughout the spring the commission met with communities across Northern Ontario, including representatives from Indigenous and Francophone communities, in order to gain the local perspective of people living in the far north.
“Adding two additional ridings in the north will complement changes made in 2015 to increase the number of ridings in heavily populated areas in southern Ontario,” said Naqvi.
“This, along with other recent reforms, will make it easier for people to get to the polls, better engage younger voters in the democratic process and ensure everyone in Ontario feels that their interests are represented in the provincial legislature ―wherever they live,” he added.