This northwestern Ontario riding has both the smallest riding population in the province
and one of the largest land areas. The population is 60,572. It stretches
from the Ontario/Manitoba border in the west and the U.S. border in the southwest to the western shores of Hudson's Bay and
the Nunavut border in the north. The riding contains part of Kenora and Thunder
Bay Territorial Districts. Major centres include Kenora, Dryden, Pickle
Lake and Sioux Narrows.
A large native population lives in the Sioux Lookout area and
also on the many reserves in the riding. In the 2001 census, the aboriginal
population was more than 27 per cent, the fifth highest in Canada. For many of
the First Nations communities in the north, the nearest polling station
is an airplane ride away.
Average family income is $60,457 and unemployment is 10.8 per cent. The
major employer is the service sector.
In 2004, the southern boundary has been adjusted so that Rainy River and
Fort Frances fall in the Thunder Bay-Rainy River district. The riding of
Kenora-Rainy River was established in 1924.
1925-1945 inclusive: LIB
1949-1963 inclusive: LIB.LAB.
1972-1980 inclusive: LIB
1988, 1993, 1997, 2000: LIB
In 2000, Liberal Bob Nault defeated Canadian Alliance candidate
Ed Prefontaine to win a fourth term. Nault was minister of Indian
affairs and northern development under Jean Chrétien; he is not running again. Kenora-Rainy River
has elected Liberals or Liberal-Labour candidates almost exclusively
since 1925, though New Democrat John Parry served one term after the 1984 election.
The riding has had two long-serving MPs who were Liberal-Labour
candidates for part of their career: William Benedickson
who was in office from 1945 to 1965, and John Reid, who held office
from 1965 to 1980.