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Ontario Votes 2014: Thunder Bay-Superior North

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?

Andrew Foulds (NDP): It’s simple: I will regularly meet with First Nations chiefs and councils in the riding. This isn’t just a line to be trotted out to every different constituency at election time. I can’t fight for justice for First Nations communities without you. I can only do it alongside you.

Michael Gravelle (Liberal): During my 19 years as an MPP I have worked hard to establish strong, productive and collaborative relationships with all First Nations in my riding and across the province. I firmly believe that having open and honest communication is the only way to achieve positive outcomes for all and if re-elected I will continue to take that approach.

Joseph LeBlanc (Green): The role of MPP is that of a representative, to speak for the region with direction from the people. While working and living throughout our region, I have developed great confidence in communities to set their own vision and have witnessed what happens when we are ignored. If elected, I will advocate for the visions of all communities in the riding.

Derek Parks (PC): As an elected MPP, I represent ALL people within the riding with provincial issues. My door would always be open to discuss concerns and hope the communities’ door would be open to allow me the honour to visit and discuss concerns when invited by Chief and Council.

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

Andrew Foulds (NDP): So many of our young people are in need of jobs and in need of training. In 10 years the Liberals have not addressed the serious youth unemployment for First Nations. We need to encourage job creation by helping small businesses rather than giving large corporations no strings attached corporate giveaways.

Michael Gravelle (Liberal): As MPP for Thunder Bay-Superior North, I have fought hard to build a stronger, more prosperous region for all of my constituents. It’s my belief that First Nations should be a full and active partner in any economic development project on their traditional territory and that government can and should act as a force for good to improve people’s lives.

Joseph LeBlanc (Green): Local prosperity based on local natural and human resources. Northern Ontarians are tired of distant political parties selling off our natural resources while prioritizing corporations and southern needs over our own. We have a wealth of natural, social, and human capital and should empower local people to make decisions that impact the short and long term future of our communities.

Derek Parks (PC): My professional experience has allowed me to witness (and participate) first hand how industry and local First Nations can work together to tackle social and economic issues. I have always insisted that when working on traditional lands, the company MUST supply local Aboriginal helpers with planned phases of work and ensure the company must provide meaningful opportunities for employment, training and contracting.

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?

Andrew Foulds (NDP): The province definitely has a role to play in advocacy. I’ll go further - it’s unacceptable for First Nations to go without the services everyone else takes for granted. It’s not good enough to just say: “It’s not my responsibility. That’s the Feds.” If things don’t happen because of federal inaction, then the province needs to step in.

Michael Gravelle (Liberal): Our Party stands with all First Nations across Ontario in their call for the federal government to act on their constitutional obligations and ensure that First Nations communities are provided with the support they need. We will continue to be strong advocates on behalf of the interests of First Nations related to policing, emergency response, fire safety and prevention.

Joseph LeBlanc (Green): Ontario should be a stronger advocate while stepping up with more direct investments. The experiences of Indigenous nations in other jurisdictions have opened our eyes to what’s possible when governments look beyond arguing jurisdiction and passing the buck. In Ontario, we are all treaty people and as First Nations we have rights to fair and equal treatment.

Derek Parks (PC): This struggle for essential service funding appears to be universal regardless of the level of government. My understanding is that issues identified on federal First Nation reserves are a federal responsibility. I feel regardless of political stripes, if ANY community is in crisis, assistance must be provided and I would be an advocate for that support.

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