Progressive Conservatives demand Liberals apologize to northern Ontario

The Progressive Conservatives say the Liberal Party should apologize to northern Ontario after an alleged comment made in the house last week.

PC’s allege Liberal MPP made ‘slur’, Liberal MPP says comment ‘misinterpreted’

Sault Ste. Marie MPP Ross Romano was one of the Progressive Conservative MPP's to bring up the topic during question period. (Erik White/CBC)

The Progressive Conservatives say the Liberal Party should apologize to northern Ontario after an alleged comment made in the house last week.

The PC's say Northumberland-Quinte West Liberal MPP Lou Rinaldi called the region a "no man's land."

Niagara West-Glanbrook MPP Sam Oosterhoff says he heard Rinaldi make the comment last Thursday.

"I was shocked," he said. "There's always a certain amount of heckling but it's always done in good faith and good humour. It's never negative to that extreme."

On Monday, the PC's brought up the topic during question period.

"I do not represent a no man's land," Sault Ste. Marie MPP Ross Romano said.

"I represent the people of Sault Ste. Marie and as northerners, we take great offence to these comments."

Both deputy premier Deb Matthews and Sudbury MPP and energy minister Glenn Thibeault responded to the PCs by stating what the Liberals have done for northern Ontario.

"From NOHFC, hundreds of millions of dollars being spent in all of the ridings in northern Ontario," Thibeault said. "That's done by this government."

Comment 'misinterpreted'

MPP Rinaldi tells CBC News the comment in question was directed at MPP Vic Fedeli.

Lou Rinaldi is the MPP for Northumberland-Quinte West. (Supplied/lourinaldi.onmpp.ca)

"He was referring to the Elections Financing Act that we introduced some months back," he said.

"My … heckling, to be fair, was 'you're in no man's land,' referring to the comments [Fedeli] was making."

Rinaldi says that comment was misinterpreted.

"Certainly, nothing against northern Ontario," he said.

"I've been up in northern Ontario many times. I come from southeastern Ontario which in some ways mirrors the north. I understand the challenges rural and northern Ontario has."

With files from Martha Dillman