This Northern Ontario riding spreads the smallest population in the
province over the third-largest land area.
It stretches from Manitoulin Island in the south to north of Manitouwadge
and Hornepayne; from Lake Superior in west to the Nickel Belt and Sudbury
ridings in east. It also includes the outer fringes of Sault Ste Marie,
as well as vast tracts in which lumbering and mining are the main industries.
The riding's economic base is rooted in manufacturing, mining, pulp
and paper, and uranium mining. Elliot Lake, the uranium centre, is the
largest single urban centre.
There are also several native reserves in the riding and the aboriginal
population is the third highest in province, according to the 1996 census.
The riding was created prior to the 1999 general election through the
amalgamation of the former ridings of Algoma and Algoma-Manitoulin,
plus parts of the Nickel Belt and Lake Nipigon ridings.
In the old riding of Algoma-Manitoulin, PC candidate John Lane won elections
in 1971, 1975, 1977, 1981 and 1985. Lane didn't run in the 1987 election,
which was won by Liberal Mike Brown, who won again in 1990, 1995 and
was re-elected in the reconfigured riding in 1999.
In the old riding of Algoma, PC candidate Bernt Gilbertson won elections
in 1967 and 1971. He was defeated in 1975 by NDP candidate Bud Wildman,
who won every successive election until his retirement in 1998.