NORTH BAY – While a decades-old separatist party has been recently revived with a new name and new leader, its platform remains the same – giving the people of Northern Ontario a voice at Queen’s Park.
Trevor Holliday, from North Bay, has been voted in as the official party leader for the newly re-branded Northern Ontario Party (NOP). Earlier this year, Holliday launched an online petition calling for Northern Ontario to become its own province. When more than 4,000 supporters backed his position, he decided to take things one step further and register the NOP with Elections Ontario at the end of last month.
“It was a big shock for me because I went from just wanting to see what people’s thoughts were with the petition; I was wondering if I was on my own with that thought and then a huge following came along,” Holliday recalled. “The feedback has just been amazing. People have come out from everywhere saying, ‘You’re giving us a voice.’ So this is why I’m doing this.”
The NOP was formed from the ashes of the former Northern Ontario Heritage Party.
Created in 1977 by Ed Diebel, who will remain a part of the NOP as the party president, its main political aspiration was separatism – something that Holliday also favours.
He wants to idea of splitting Ontario into two separate provinces formally addressed in a vote, in order to determine the best interests for Ontarians in the north and the south.
“The issue has been brought up for decades but there have been no official referendums or votes on this so we’re pushing that we at least get the referendum vote,” he said. “I keep pushing that we want to see what the majority want – not tell them what they want. This gives direction to the province for the possibility of having two provinces that can work together.”
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