Pikangikum First Nation refuses to host polling station
No local ballot box for voters in Northwestern Ontario reserve
The Chief of Pikangikum First Nation, north of Kenora, says his community is refusing to host an Ontario election polling station, because of a lack of attention from candidates.
Chief Paddy Peters said he'd like to talk to candidates face to face about critical issues facing his community.
But none of the people running in the Kenora-Rainy River riding have visited.
"We don't see them, we don't hear them," Peters said. "They neglect our community, they expect support from our community. To me, that's absurd."
"Aren't we part of Ontario?"
'I want the candidates to hear this'
The returning officer for the Kenora-Rainy River riding said people from Pikangikum can still vote in advance in Red Lake, Fort Frances or Sioux Lookout.
They can also vote by mail.
Peters said Pikangikum "has issues that need to be addressed by the government of Ontario" such as the lack of running water or sewage for the majority of homes in the First Nation.
He says he's also disappointed neither the provincial government, nor the candidates have taken an interest in Pikangikum's forestry project that is the result of 17 years of community planning.
"We want to get into the business aspect of forestry," he said. "We've been asking for start-up money for two years and nothing has been done so far."
"When you talk about prosperity, we want revenue coming in for our own people, so I want these candidates to hear this."
Peters said this is the first time Pikangikum has declined to host a polling station.