Provincial leaders to debate northern Ontario issues

The Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association says a Northern Leaders debate is scheduled in Thunder Bay on May 26. Kathleen Wynne and Andrea Horwath have both confirmed their participation.

Liberals, NDP confirmed, Progressive Conservatives considering, Green Party not invited

Ontario's three main party leaders are into the last week of campaigning for the June 12 election. (File Photo)

The battle to become Ontario's next premier is headed north.

The Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association [NOMA] says the Northern Leaders Debate is scheduled in Thunder Bay on May 26.

As of Monday morning, Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath have confirmed they will participate.

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak has not yet confirmed.

In an email to CBC News, a spokesperson for Hudak's campaign said, "We’ve had a few different invitations for a Northern Leaders Debate and are looking at the options that best fit with our schedule."

A campaign spokesperson for Green Party leader Mike Schreiner said that he had not been invited to the northern debate. 

NOMA executive director Kristen Oliver confirmed in an email that Schreiner had not been included, saying "a decision was made to invite leaders currently elected in Queen's Park."

Last week, Wynne and Horwath got into a public back-and-forth on northern issues on Twitter.

Meanwhile, a new poll finds that 56 per cent of residents in northern Ontario feel the provincial government has done "a poor or very poor job of managing the affairs of the north."

NOMA is hosting the debate in partnership with the Federation of Northern Municipalities as well as the associated Chambers of Commerce for northwestern and northeastern Ontario. The debate is sponsored by the Northern Policy Institute. 

Oliver said the debate is scheduled from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. on May 26 at the Valhalla Inn in Thunder Bay. 


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