New caucus group of Northern Ontario MPPs to review legislation

TORONTO—Policies impacting Northern Ontario will have a new lens through which the government can view them, as members of the Ontario Legislature unanimously endorsed a motion to create a committee of the legislature that will be composed of Northern MPPs.

“My colleague John Vanthof (MPP Timiskaming-Cochrane) introduced the motion,” said Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Mike Mantha. “The idea is very simple and is a fantastic idea really. We have such a vast region here in the North with a lot of issues specific to us. This committee will look at each piece of legislation and report back to the government on how it will impact, positively or negatively, on our region.”

The non-partisan committee will be made up of all of the Northern MPPs, regardless of their party affiliation. “I think there will be a lot of agreement on the needs and issues facing the North,” said Mr. Mantha. “There are a lot of challenges up here. The idea is to increase understanding of those challenges and how government policies and legislation interact. We will be able to offer a true reflection of the needs of the North.”

Mr. Vanthof noted that most southerners, through no fault of their own, do not really understand the North, leading to unnecessary alienation for Northerners and services that do not adequately reflect the needs of the North. He pointed out that if people from rural and Northern Ontario were tasked with running a major southern metropolis, “I think we would make a mess of things as well.”

Although the motion received unanimous assent from both governing Liberal and opposition members, it is up to the provincial government to implement the concept.