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Ontario Votes 2014: Kenora Rainy River

Friday May 30, 2014

Q1: How will you incorporate accessibility and the development of a working relationship and communication with First Nations as a part of your riding operations?

Sarah Campbell (NDP): I will make sure that I travel into every community and meet with chiefs and councils. I will meet with Elders and listen closely to their advice. It’s important for me to be able to celebrate with people, and talk with people at community gatherings, at harvest feasts and at powwows when I am welcomed to attend.

Anthony Leek (Liberal): The Ontario Liberal Party respects First Nation and treaty rights and is committed to meeting its constitutional and other legal obligations in respect to Aboriginal peoples. If elected, I’m committed to building respectful, trusting and positive relationships with First Nation communities. I will also open a Community Office in Sioux Lookout to improve constituency services access to the Far North.

Tim McKilop (Green): The Green Party would honour our nation-to-nation treaty obligations and respect First Nation rights in every and all dealings. These values inspire us to look into all areas of our relationship to ensure the needs of all our communities are met so we do not compromise our environment, our well-being or our economic opportunities.

Randy Nickle (PC): As an MPP Candidate for the Kenora/Rainy River Riding, the development of my working relationship with area First Nations has already begun. I have met the leadership of several First Nation communities – communities who are quite progressive in their approach to economic and community development.
I want to strengthen our region and that means we are in this together. This face-to-face dialogue will continue if I am elected MPP for our great riding.

Q2: What is your vision for your riding in terms of social and economic development? How will First Nations be partners in your vision?

Sarah Campbell (NDP): Remote communities that aren’t on the electricity grid must use expensive and polluting diesel fuel to produce their electricity. Electrical power should be there, dependably, cheaply, cleanly – for everyone. And we have to fight to ensure any resources development into traditional territory is done only with the support of First Nations and with oversight from First Nations and with benefits going to First Nations.

Anthony Leek (Liberal): Ontario Liberals will move forward with an Aboriginal Economic Development Fund to support long-term economic strategies, provide grants for Aboriginal businesses and fund skills-training programs. The fund will be introduced in consultation with First Nations leaders. A Remote Communities Allowance will also be introduced representing a $50 per month increase for each additional family member receiving Ontario Works or ODSP.

Tim McKilop (Green): The Green Party of Ontario believes that it is important to undertake a planning process for Ontario’s far north. This process must be comprehensive and anchored on the concept that the rights of First Nations peoples must be paramount. I see First Nations as full partners in small business, mining, forestry and tourism.

Randy Nickle (PC): My vision for the Kenora/Rainy River Riding is to provide opportunity for everyone. Anyone who wants to work will have employment; anyone who has a desire to learn will have access to top-notch education; anyone who requires health care will have access to the best medical care available. First Nations are key to helping me achieve my vision. Whether it is repealing the Far North Act to ensure lands are available for development; reducing red tape for investors; skilled trades training and education to meet the upcoming labour market demands in the region; to job creation; First Nations will be a valued and integral part of the region moving forward.

Q3: As First Nations struggle with limited infrastructure investments from the federal government for essential community services, do you feel that the province has a role to play in advocacy on these issues?

Sarah Campbell (NDP): The federal government in so many ways has abandoned its treaty responsibilities. But Ontario has treaty responsibilities of its own that they have also abandoned. So often, nothing gets done because the provincial government holds up their hands in the air and says that’s the federal government’s responsibility and visa versa. So while of course we’ll advocate on behalf of First Nations to urge the federal government to meet its treaty obligations, a provincial NDP government will ensure the Ontario government meets its own treaty obligations.

Anthony Leek (Liberal): Yes, the provincial government has an advocacy role to establish funding agreements for infrastructure and essential community service investments on First Nation communities. Ontario Liberals are also committed to establishing funding agreements with the federal government for cost-sharing of infrastructure investments. This includes funding to connect remote First Nations communities to new electrical transmission projects in the area.

Tim McKilop (Green): The province has an obligation to act as an advocate for First Nations as they struggle with limited infrastructure investments from the federal government for essential community services such as policing, emergency response, fire safety and prevention. We need to ensure people have a fair standard of living and not be handicapped based on where they live.

Randy Nickle (PC): The federal government has an important role to play in developing our riding. I will want to discuss at length with our area MP, Minister Greg Rickford, how we can work together to address many of the basic needs of area First Nations whether it is housing, energy, roads, health care, education and emergency services such as policing and fire protection. These services are provided to other residents within our province without question. I will want to know what steps need to be taken to ensure these services are applied equally and fairly across the province.

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