Northern Representation? I’m “indifferent”: MinisterOctober 25, 2017
QUEEN’S PARK – Bill Mauro, Minister of Municipal Affairs and the MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan, is uninterested in giving Northern Ontarians an important voice in community planning and housing issues.
Earlier this week, a government dominated committee led by Lou Rinaldi, who famously referred to Northern Ontario as “no man’s land,” struck down an Official Opposition amendment that would have guaranteed Northern representation on a board that deals with OMB appeals.
Defending his government’s decision to cut out the North, Minister Mauro said it was neither “good, bad, or indifferent” and suggested that OMB issues have only affected “Toronto and larger municipalities in southern Ontario.”
“Minister Mauro seems to have forgotten about all of the OMB decisions that have impacted communities across Northern Ontario,” said Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli. “OMB issues don’t just affect Toronto and the GTA; they affect every single community – large and small – across Ontario.”
Bill Mauro also ridiculed the amendment, saying “the single strongest amendment and suggestion they could come forward with on this particular legislation was to see if they could get a Northern member put onto the OMB,” and “if that’s all they got to come up with…then I think we’ve got this plan in a pretty good place.”
“Bill Mauro might not think Northern representation is important. But let me tell you, Patrick Brown and the Official Opposition do. The number one issue I hear at home in the North is that people want a voice at the table. They feel like they’ve been cut out of the decision making process, and that the government doesn’t listen,” added Fedeli.
“The fact that a cabinet minister – a cabinet minister from Northern Ontario – would deride attempts to include the North is proof of what this government thinks about Northern Ontario.”
Fedeli concluded: “We really are nothing but a ‘no man’s land’ to them.”