While the Northern Ontario Heritage Party continues to experience growing pains, plans are beginning to come together for the fledgling political party. NOHP Leader Ed Debeil, of North Bay, still hopes to field candidates in all 11 Northern Ontario ridings for the Oct. 6 provincial election.
Currently the party has two confirmed candidates — in the ridings of Timiskaming-Cochrane and Kenora-Rainy River. Official announcements will be made later this week to introduce these candidates. Previously, Debeil had hoped to have riding associations formed and candidates in place in all 11 ridings by Aug. 8.
The process has moved slower than he had originally hoped. “We’re working on a candidate for Timmins-James Bay,” he explained in a phone interview on Monday. “I’ve had two or three people express interest in the nomination.
“But until I get the email confirming a desire to run, I can’t say there will be candidate for sure.”
One of the obstacles facing Debeil is the paper work needed to file with Elections Ontario. Each candidate requires an auditor for the campaign.
This position must have a certified bookkeeper, either a Chartered Accountant or a Certified General Accountant.
The NOHP has been having difficulty attracting a CA or CGA in each riding.
“We have until Sept. 8 to file our nomination papers,” he said.
“I’m currently awaiting an answer from Elections Ontario, to see if we need auditors in place when we file our papers.”
The challenges facing the party have not deterred Debeil in his desire to change the political face of the North.
He has planned an event to garner candidates in the ridings of Sudbury and Nickel Belt.
“We’re going to set up nomination meetings and riding association meetings on Saturday, Aug. 27, at the Ambassador Hotel in Sudbury,” he said.
“We hope to take nominations for Sudbury and Nickel Centre there.”
He said the NOHP is also working on securing a nomination for the riding of Algoma-Manitoulin.
While interest is building, it’s not at the level Debeil had envisioned with the party’s launch.
“There are 13 registered political parties in Ontario. Other than ours, none have a policy for Northern Ontario — including the Liberals, Conservatives and NDP,” he said. “There are no policies for economic development in the North. Yes, they have some Band Aid solutions to for some of our problems, but no policies specifically for Northern Ontario.
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