Time to give the [Ontario] Far North its own federal voice – by Wayne Snider (Timmins Daily Press – October 3, 2012)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

The landscape of federal politics is about to change, but the Boundary Commission is missing the boat when it comes to making real change to bring better representation to all Canadians.

Ontario is to get 15 new federal seats, as part of the once-a-decade adjustments made based on census data. Quebec will get three more seats, while Alberta and B.C. add six each. It’s not the numbers that are troublesome but the way they are distributed.

The growth of Ontario’s population, from 11,410,046 in 2001 to 12,856,821 in 2011 means the province’s number of ridings will increase to 121 from the 106 seats. That accounts for half the total expansion of the House, which is to go to 338 from 308.

Most new seats will go to the urban centres in southern Ontario, while in the North, the proposed new riding of Timmins-Cochrane-James Bay will grow even larger in area and population.

This means NDP MP Charlie Angus, will have an even larger territory to manage. As Angus said, the riding of Timmins-James Bay is already larger than Great Britain.

But it is more than just a numbers game when you look at the demographics of the riding. There are many differences within the riding that make the expansion of at least one seat not only a necessity, but the right thing to do.

With 15 seats to play with in Ontario, why not create a seat for the Far North (which would include parts of Timmins-James Bay and Kenora-Rainy River)? This would give a real voice to our First Nations communities.

Right now Angus, and MPP Gilles Bisson provincially, have a balancing act when it comes to representing such a massive territory. And if it wasn’t for Bisson having a private pilot’s licence, how much attention would remote First Nation communities receive?

For the rest of this article, please go to the Sudbury Star website: http://www.thesudburystar.com/2012/10/03/pov-time-to-give-the-far-north-its-own-federal-voice

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