QUEEN’S PARK — Northern NDP MPPs were assigned important new critic roles in the Official Opposition by NDP Leader Andrea Horwath to help northern families get through this pandemic — including a new portfolio created to focus on northern roads and transportation challenges.
MPP Jamie West (Sudbury) is now the critic for Northern Infrastructure, Transportation and Roads; MPP Michael Mantha (Algoma-Manitoulin) takes on a new role as Tourism critic along with Northern Development; and MPP Gilles Bisson (Timmins) is now the critic for Community Safety and Correctional Services.
“Northern Ontario has been left behind by Doug Ford during this pandemic,” said West. “In my new role I will fight for northern road maintenance to make our highways safe for families, for more transportation like the Northlander to connect Northeastern communities, get the expansion of our highways finished, and bring broadband to all northern communities.”
“Northern tourism is the lifeblood of so many communities in the North,” said Mantha. “Our tourism industry has been devastated during this pandemic and the Ford government has done little to help. I will make sure that our tourism sector is front and centre at Queen’s Park to get the attention it needs now more than ever.”
“Doug Ford, like the Liberals before him, has allowed a crisis in corrections to continue,” said Bisson. “ In my new role I will make sure that the Ford government invests in community safety and corrections to keep northerners, and Ontarians safe.”
The Northern MPPs said that, in addition to their critic roles, they will continue fighting Doug Ford’s cuts to long-term care, education and public health that he made before the pandemic.
“Doug Ford’s choice not to spend billions of dollars in COVID-fighting funds is making this pandemic longer, and Northern Ontario is seeing the virus spread into our communities,” said Bisson. “Together with Andrea Horwath and our Northern team of NDP MPPs, we will fight to keep Northerners safe, and push this government for more support for people and businesses to get through this pandemic.”
MPPs France Gelinas (Nickel Belt) will continue in her vital role as NDP Health critic; John Vanthof (Timiskaming-Cochrane) continues as Deputy Leader and critic for Agriculture and Food, Rural Development; Guy Bourgouin (Mushkegowuk-James Bay) continues his work for Franco-Ontarians as Francophone Affairs critic.
Sol Mamakwa (Kiiwetinoong) continues to advocate for Indigenous people and communities in Ontario as critic for Indigenous and Treaty relations; and Judith Monteith-Farrell (Thunder Bay-Atikokan) will now add mines to her portfolios in natural resources and forestry as the critic for these vital sectors for the northern economy.