Candidates in 1 of Ontario's newest ridings outline their priorities ahead of debate

Candidates in Kiiwetinoong, the largest riding in Ontario, will debate Wednesday night in Sioux Lookout, the electoral district's largest community.

Kiiwetinoong candidates debate scheduled Wednesday evening at Sioux Lookout Legion

Candidates in the Kiiwetinoong riding in Ontario's far north will meet face-to-face in a debate Wednesday. (Government of Ontario)

Candidates in Kiiwetinoong, the largest riding in Ontario, will debate Wednesday night in Sioux Lookout, the electoral district's largest community.

Candidates from the three sitting parties were interviewed by CBC Thunder Bay to determine what their priorities are.

Sol Mamakwa, the NDP candidate, said his priority is health care. Mamakwa is a health advisor with Nishnawbe Aski Nation.

"I think to be able to provide that voice in Queen's Park is very critical," he said.

"Kiiwetinoong riding needs to voice together to move forward."
Sol Mamakwa is the New Democrat MPP-elect for the Kiiwetinoong riding. (Jeff Walters/CBC)

The concept of working together is one of the pillars of Doug Lawrance's platform. Lawrance, currently the mayor of Sioux Lookout and a small business owner, is the Liberal candidate in Kiiwetinoong.

Lawrance said his track record of working with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities makes him an ideal candidate to represent all the people in the riding.

"Relationships don't develop because you decide to turn a switch on," Lawrance said. "They develop over time by building trust."

Lawrance said Ontario is on the right track, and should continue the path it is on.

"There's so much interdependence and inter-relationship between all the communities."
Doug Lawrance is the Liberal party candidate in Kiiwetinoong. (www.siouxlookout.ca)

PC Candidate Clifford Bull, the Chief of Lac Seul First Nation, touted his party's plan to put money back into the pockets of constituents, partially though decreasing the cost of energy in the north.

"We're also going to look after the people up north in terms of gas," he said. "I went up to some of the northern communities to get a sense of the pricing, and it's well over $2.50 a litre."

All of the candidates agreed the geography of the riding is a major challenge, with just over 30,000 constituents spread out over nearly 300,000 square kilometres.

"It's one third the area of the province of Ontario," said Lawrance.
Clifford Bull is the Ontario PC Party candidate in Kiiwetinoong. (Matt Prokopchuk / CBC)

What makes the riding unique, besides its size, is that all of the candidates from the three major parties know each other and have worked together on various projects.

"When I see them on the road, and on the campaign trail, I say hello and have greetings and have nothing against them," said Mamakwa. "It's a democratic process and we will work together towards betterment of the people of Kiiwetinoong riding."

We're probably going to have the friendliest campaign in all of Ontario- PC candidate Clifford Bull

"We're probably going to have the friendliest campaign in all of Ontario," Bull said. "I've seen Sol [Mamakwa] at airports, I've seen Doug [Lawrance] ... it's all about democracy."

Other candidates include the Northern Ontario Party's Kenneth Jones and Green Party candidate Christine Penner Polle.

The debate in Sioux Lookout is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. at the Legion.

About the Author

Jeff Walters

Reporter/Editor

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff is proud to work in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario. Away from work, you can find him skiing (on water or snow), curling, out at the lake or flying.