Northern lifestyle threatened by tiny budget cut – by Wayne Snider (Timmins Daily Press – October 12, 2012)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – There has been some suggestions Queen’s Park is purposely punishing Northeastern Ontario with its proposed overnight camping ban in six of the region’s provincial parks.

While there is much circumstantial evidence to draw such a conclusion, I believe this is giving southern politicians too much credit. After all, how much do they really know about Northern Ontario, particularly the lifestyles of Northerners?

Sure, our region’s provincial parks are all in ridings currently run by New Democrat MPPs, while the Liberals rule Ontario.

Yes, Rene Brunelle Provincial Park is in the backyard of Kapuskasing Mayor Alan Spacek, who ran under the Progressive Conservative banner in Timmins-James Bay during the last Ontario election.

Then there is the fact that Spacek, Timmins Mayor Tom Laughren (close to Ivanhoe Lake) and Cochrane Mayor Peter Politis (Greenwater) have all been very outspoken against Liberal legislation impacting their residents — the Endangered Species Act, the Far North Act and dumping the Northlander passenger train service, to name a few.

Let’s not forget that editorials, columns and letters to the editor printed in this very publication have prompted heated rebuttals from Liberal cabinet ministers.

The knife was also sadistically twisted further by announcing the camping ban on the eve of the Northlander’s final run.

Surely even the Ancient Alien Theorists from The History Channel can read between the lines: Dalton’s gang is out to get us.

While I admit to having no love for the ruling Liberals (or Tories before them, and NDP before that), I don’t think the camping ban was enacted merely to punish residents of this region.

They simply don’t understand the severity of this latest blow to true Northerners.

I know colleagues, some as far north as Sudbury, who don’t understand what the hubbub is about. The further south you go, the more they just don’t get it. Some even find it amusing that this small, government cutback is considered a big deal.

Well, southern folk, in our little corner of Ontario the overnight camp ban in these parks is probably the most single-hated decision made by the provincial government in years, if not decades. It goes well beyond party politics.

Everyone who lives in this area, or has since moved off to the big city, knows our passionate, unwavering love affair with “The Camp.”

From May Run (that’s Victoria Day weekend down south) to around Thanksgiving, residents across Northeastern Ontario spend their weekends and vacations at The Camp. Be it a full-blown cottage, a cabin, a trailer, or an RV or tent pitched somewhere, if you don’t have your own camp, you have a close friend or relative who does.

We live for weekends and vacations at The Camp. If we don’t have our own, we jump at the first invitation to go.

For the rest of this article, please go to the Timmins Daily Press website: