Manitoba

Kenora eyes joining Manitoba

The mayor of Kenora says it may be time to call it quits with Ontario and join up with Manitoba.

The mayor of Kenora says it may be time to call it quits with Ontario and join up with Manitoba.

A grassroots movement to separate from Ontario has been underway for years, but Mayor Dave Canfield says the recent announcement by Abitibi Consolidated to close a mill in the community may be the last straw.

The pulp and paper company said one of its reasons for closing the mill was high energy costs in Ontario. The closure means as many as 360 jobs will be lost.

Canfield told CBC News things would be different if Kenora was a part of Manitoba.

"Obviously if we were part of Manitoba, this wouldn't be happening, because the energy costs are less than half for this industry and a lot of other things are different," he said.

Canfield says the people of Kenora are growing increasingly frustrated with the feeling of alienation from the politicians in Toronto. He points out the city is 1,800 kilometres away from Toronto, but only 200 kilometres away from Winnipeg.

"We would sooner be part of Ontario, work with the government, work co-operatively and be treated equally. Unfortunately, that just is not happening," he said. "We're having a hard time being heard, and I think the frustration is starting to show with a lot of the people in our community – and not only our community, but other communities in northwest Ontario."

Canfield says a petition has been started to gauge community support for separation.

Although he notes city council doesn't officially support the movement, Canfield says it is becoming harder to ignore.

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