The north wants in: The pride — and grievances — that fuel the Northern Ontario Party – by Claude Sharma ( – March 11, 2018)

The party is no longer fighting for the creation of a separate province of Northern Ontario. So what is it fighting for?

SUDBURY — Most people who have a young family to raise wouldn’t give up a third of their salary, a healthy benefits package, and other perks of a job at a crown agency for a slender chance at a seat in the legislature.

But Trevor Holliday has done just that. Driven by his passion for the north, the 35-year-old from Callander (a community about a 15-minute drive south of North Bay) quit his job as a bus driver with the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission to take up the post of leader of the Northern Ontario Party (while also accepting a day job as manager for a commercial cleaning company to make ends meet).

“I want to fight for northern Ontario,” says the father of five, who feels the north has been mistreated and misgoverned by the mainstream parties at Queen’s Park.

Holliday is running as a candidate in Nipissing, the riding that covers North Bay, in the hopes of winning the first-ever seat at Queen’s Park for the Northern Ontario Party in the June 7 provincial election. It’s a longshot bid: Progressive Conservative Vic Fedeli has held the seat since 2011. In the 2014 election, he beat his nearest competitor by more than 4,700 votes (the NOP didn’t run in the riding that year).

The few NOP candidates running for office across northern Ontario face similarly difficult odds. What’s motivating them, and the party’s paid membership of about 300 people, is a shared conviction that northern Ontario is poorly served by Queen’s Park and that something needs to be done about it.

Holliday is looking for more northern autonomy. He says politicians in Toronto make too many vital decisions for an area of the province they know little about. He doubts if most of them have visited places like Timmins, Elliot Lake, and Sault Ste. Marie unless it’s for a photo opportunity.

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