North deserves more clout: Readers – by Mary Katherine Keown (Sudbury Star – May 16, 2016)

This week, The Star asked its readers about autonomy and sovereignty in Northern Ontario. We wanted to know: Would you like to see Northern Ontario get more powers to run its affairs and develop its economy?

Online, 67 per cent of respondents (344 votes) said yes, while 11 per cent of voters (55 votes) said no. Twenty per cent of voters (101 votes) advocated for the separation of the North from the rest of the province, while two per cent of respondents (17 votes) said they were not sure.

Likening northern separation to the Quebec referendum, one female caller noted that more power would be great, but added Northern Ontario should remain a part of the province. “Yes, we are the largest city in Northern Ontario, but don’t even think of separation. Leave that to Quebec,” she said.

One lady who called had a lot to say. She called the poll line about four times to express her opinions. She is definitely in the pro-northern power camp.

“Northern Ontario should be regulating its own affairs,” she said. “Down in the south, they have no clue how important it is and the distances we have here. Just to get to a hospital, it’s very far, whereas in the south clinics are right around the corner from each other. Here people have to travel. The roads are long and hard, and the winters are harsh.”

Were the North to have more control over its own infrastructure and expenditures, our communities would be in better shape, she said.

“I think the North should have more power over what they do. The south has all kinds of amenities, where the North doesn’t have it,” she said. “We have bad roads, bad sewage, bad health care. The south doesn’t have that. They keep building and getting more and more for their taxes. We have less and less. We have nothing to show for our money, except all these problems.”

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