Published: February 14, 2018
BY JENNIFER PARSONS
With the next provincial election just under four months away it is still unclear who will be representing the three major political parties in the riding of Kiiwetingoong.
The new riding, which now encompasses Red Lake, Ear Falls, Sioux Lookout, and over 20 First Nation communities, spans more than 294,000 square kilometres and was created this summer alongside three other ridings in an effort to better represent Northern Ontario in the provincial legislature.
“I think it is a concern for a lot of the municipal leaders in our district,” said Ear Falls Mayor Kevin Kahoot responding to questions after the Kenora District Municipal Association annual meeting. The Mayor noted the issue of representation was top of the mind for leaders as they met earlier this month.
“We know that come election time we are going to have some choices to make. I think when you get everybody together it makes you a little more comfortable. Individually we all have our concerns but as we talk about it, it is all going to work out.”
Red Lake Mayor Phil Vinet echoed the same concern this week calling the lack of activity in the new riding “interesting.”
“What is even more disconcerting to me is that you don’t even hear any street buzz. I hope that is not an indication of what this riding will be about, another lost northern riding,” he added.
Kahoot says the creation of the new riding means that the communities that have been linked through the reallocation exercise will have to work a lot closer with whichever representation is elected in June.
“I think it is going to be really important that as soon as possible after this election is to touch base with whoever our representative is going to be and start creating that relationship right out of the gate…Whoever this member of [provincial] parliament is going to be has a huge opportunity to bring Indigenous and non-indigenous communities together and that person is going to have a big role in how we interact moving forward.”