Meet the candidates: Nipissing 

This electoral district is centered around the city of North Bay. Voters in Nipissing have switched between the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives over the years.

Progressive Conservative candidate Vic Fedelli has represented Nipissing since 2011

This electoral district is centered around the city of North Bay. Voters in Nipissing have switched between the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives over the years. (Elections Ontario)

This electoral district is centered around the city of North Bay. Voters in Nipissing have switched between the Liberals and Progressive Conservatives over the years.

Progressive Conservative candidate Vic Fedelli has represented Nipissing since 2011.

Eight people are running in Nipissing: the NDP's Erika Lougheed, Progressive Conservative Vic Fedeli, Ontario Liberal Party candidate Tanya Vrebosch, Green Party of Ontario candidate Sean McCocklin, New Blue Party candidate Taylor Russell, Ontario Party candidate Joe Jobin, None of the Above Direct Democracy Party's Giacomo Vezina and the Libertarian Party's Michelle Lashbrook.

Below are answers from candidates who responded to our requests by press time. They have only been edited for style and grammar. 

Tanya Vrebosch, Liberal

Tanya Vrebosch is the Liberal candidate in Nipissing. (Submitted by the Ontario Liberal Party)

Why are you the right person for the job?

I truly believe that I have the drive, the passion, and the experience to best represent the people of Nipissing. Over the last few years, I have watched our community's landscape shift drastically. The mental health and addictions crisis in our province has had a disproportionately damaging impact on our community and as a municipal representative, there is only so much I can do. As the deputy mayor for the city of North Bay, I can help build roads, bridges, and parks, but I can't fix this. We are not receiving the support we need from our provincial government to address this crisis and so I knew that if I wanted something to change, I needed to take action myself. 

If elected, what will be your first priority in office as MPP?

If I earn the honour of being elected as the next MPP for Nipissing, my first priority will be to work with our leader, our party, opposition members, and the federal and municipal governments to develop a task force to combat the opioid crisis and address the other issues our province is facing with mental health and addictions. I am not so deluded to think this is an issue I can solve myself. It will require a collaborative effort from all of these parties to establish a strong, expert-driven action plan. People in our communities are suffering and immediate action is needed.

What do you believe is the most important issue in your riding?

I feel like I've spoken quite a bit about mental health and addictions, but there is one other issue that's front of mind for me and that is northern transportation. In northern Ontario, many of our communities are significantly more isolated than communities in the rest of the province. While this may not seem like an issue immediately to those who don't experience it, there are significant challenges associated with that. For one thing, as our communities are also much smaller, we rarely have access to specialized medical care close by. So imagine you need to travel hours to see a specialist and you can't drive. Our platform's $1 transit commitment will make these trips significantly more affordable as someone can essentially travel anywhere in the province for less than the price of a coffee. However, what we still need in northern Ontario is a significant investment in infrastructure to provide more routes and increased frequency. I think this issue is front of mind for a lot of people not just in my riding, but in all of northern Ontario.

Vic Fedeli, Progressive Conservative

Vic Fedeli is the Progressive Conservative candidate in Nipissing, (Submitted by the OPC)

Why are you the right person for the job?

Victor Fedeli is a lifelong entrepreneur. His business experience led his firm Fedeli Corporation to be ranked in the Top 50 Best Places to Work in Canada. He was elected to two terms as mayor of the city of North Bay and restored solvency and restored hope. In 2011 Vic was elected as Nipissing MPP and has served three terms. Vic served as Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and oversaw creating the economic conditions for businesses to hire 550,000 people since the PC government took office. Vic also was the driving force for the turnaround in the auto sector, signing $14 billion in auto investments in the last 18 months.

If elected, what will be your first priority in office as MPP?

There are over 600 long-term care beds being built right now, a 53-bed mental health and addiction treatment facility under construction, 100 homelessness apartments are set to open this summer, and the hospital is adding 45 beds. While there are many priorities, we need to start with rebuilding Ontario's economy. Our future lies in the north's critical minerals needed for the electric vehicle demand. Companies are making mineral processing location decisions right this second. We want those processing facilities built in the north. This will help lead the rebuilding of our economy and provide skilled training and work for thousands, including at the 66 companies specializing in mining and machinery in Nipissing. This is our moment and we need to seize it.

What do you believe is the most important issue in your riding?

We were elected on a promise to keep costs down, and we are the only party with a track record of success on affordability. We have lowered gas taxes and are lowering the tax further in July. Scrapping the licence plate stickers puts money back in the pockets of eight million people – a savings of $240 for the average family. The $10-a-day childcare deal we made was the best in the country, saving families money for a longer period. We have held electricity prices to the off-peak rate of 8.5 cents/kwh during 2020. And we have many affordability programs for seniors, including the dental program, active living centres, home and vehicle modification, LIFT Tax Credit, and the Home Safety Tax Credit.

Joe Jobin, Ontario Party

Joe Jobin is the candidate for the Ontario Party in the Nipissing riding. (Submitted by Joe Jobin)

Why are you the right person for the job? 

I am the right person for the job because of my life experiences, my ability to communicate, lead, determination to get things done, and my sincere concern for the preservation of grassroots democracy founded on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I believe when the Charter is rigorously upheld,  then the freedom and rights of all Ontarians are upheld.

If elected, what will be your first priority in office as MPP? 

If elected, my first priority as MPP in office will be to help the Ontario Party fulfil platform promises made  by Premier Doug Ford when he first sought election, but then broke shortly afterward. Promises such as scarp and reforming the sex curriculum in public schools. Instead he essentially left it the same simply tweaking what grades it would be taught.

However, the Ontario Party will follow through the promise to ban gender teaching and gender procedures to minors, as well as we will introduce anti grooming laws to go after child predators. We will upgrade and improve the academic curriculum which has been far below acceptable academic standards for years.

Equally important, (specifically for North Bay and the the surrounding towns and villages) , I and the Ontario Party will work immediately toward building up Ontario's Northern infrastructure to accommodate local industry and natural resource extraction. 

There are a lot of unemployed in this riding. Therefore, in building this region's infrastructure our innovative plan will both create jobs and wealth for Northern Ontario. For details look it up on our Website.

Equally important, I and the Ontario Party have an informed and deliberate plan for Energy Affordability for all of Ontario. For details, look it up on the Ontario Party website.

Another immediate and first priority is the Ontario Party will pass legislation in Queens Park to protect our personal liberties such as free speech. Also, we will oppose digital I.D. and the World Economic Forum which is a major threat to the freedom of all Ontarians.

What do you believe is the most important issue in your riding?

Right now I believe the most important issue in my riding is the growing poverty, unemployment, and homelessness.

I am presently closely investigating a plan to end homelessness in North Bay and surrounding area. From a number of reports, homelessness has apparently been successfully eradicated in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Therefore, I am investigating as to how they accomplished it there. And if suitable, I will use what they did as a template for North Bay and surrounding area.

On the Ontario Party Website you will find how the Ontario Party will tackle and seriously help solve poverty: How to help small businesses and create gainful employment. 

The Ontario Party is a Party with solutions for Nipissing Ontario. For more information of our platform go to my website

Erika Lougheed, NDP 

Erika Lougheed is the NDP candidate in Nipissing. (Submitted by the NDP)

Why are you the right person for the job? 

I love our community. As a municipal councillor, I have experience in building strong local bonds, sharing in the decision-making process and strengthening community services. In Nipissing, families are paying more for everything and getting less of the critical services they need. Under the Ford Conservatives, like the Liberals before them, gas prices are skyrocketing, and health care and seniors care are broken. On top of that, kids' education is suffering as schools are overcrowded and understaffed. Together with Andrea Horwath and the NDP, we can fix what's broken.

If elected, what will be your first priority in office as MPP? 

After decades of cuts and underfunding to health care under the Liberals and Conservatives, I want to make sure everyone has medical attention where and when they need it. That means investing in our hospitals and immediately hiring and recruiting 300 doctors in northern Ontario including 100 specialists and 40 mental health practitioners. This pandemic has shown us that the Ford Conservatives will always put the interests of their buddies before our health, safety and our future. They can't be trusted to fix what's broken in Ontario. 

What do you believe is the most important issue in your riding?

People in Nipissing are paying more for everything – gas, hydro and housing, and getting less of the critical services they need like health care.  Doug Ford broke every promise he made to bring down the cost of living and Del Duca and the Liberals have a 15-year record of cutting and cancelling northern services. Vic Fedeli just toed Ford's line and didn't get the job done. It's time to put Northern Ontario first and reverse Doug Ford's cuts to our services, and invest in the things that matter — local hospitals, schools, home care and long-term care, and in northern job creation, so more people can live, work and raise their families in Nipissing.

Sean McClocklin, Green Party

Sean McCocklin is the Green Party candidate in Nipissing. (Submitted by the Green Party of Ontario)

Why are you the right person for the job? 

Since Vic Fedeli came to power more than a decade ago, he has wasted valuable time and resources to fulfil his own agenda. I am not that person. I understand the hard work that is required to fix our riding and to restore our faith in local and provincial government. I would not waste time making substantial donations to big corporations and disappearing between each election. As a youth representative in my community, I am deeply committed to providing much needed support and resources to the community in order to create a better future for all. 

If elected, what will be your first priority in office as MPP?

In the north, we are disproportionately affected by the addictions and drug poisoning crisis. My first priority will be to create affordable supportive housing with wrap-around mental health services. To reduce the stigma for those who are afraid to seek help and to create a more caring and accessible community. 

What do you believe is the most important issue in your riding?

Homelessness, crime and the addiction crisis are all interconnected, and it comes down to providing affordable, accessible and comprehensive care to those who need it. We must address these issues head on with practical and wrap-around solutions in order to maintain public health and safety. While Fedeli is donating money to film studios and big corporations, I will be building affordable supportive housing and wellness centres.

Taylor Russell, New Blue Party

Taylor Russell is the New Blue Party candidate in Nipissing. (Submitted by the New Blue Party)

Why are you the right person for the job? 

As a young father who lost his job to the Ontario health mandates, I had the opportunity to feel what it was like to get your life knocked out from underneath you. I had time to think about other people, about their losses and what it meant for Ontario to leave so many of us stranded and isolated. I started my career in the army and then transitioned to the medical field as an EMT. Most of this time I felt like my life was in service to others. It felt good knowing I could help people every day. When I lost my job, in a time where there were so many people who needed medical help, I realized that there were some serious problems that needed to be addressed at a governmental level. This loss gave me an opportunity to continue to help people by standing up for those who like myself were sidelined, ignored or punished for holding fast for their beliefs. Just giving them a voice could be the most important thing I have ever done. 

If elected, what will be your first priority in office as MPP?

Working in the medical field you come to understand some of the problems in our communities that often get overlooked. The opioid epidemic could be the most harmful and ignored crisis in Ontario. Other parties, and our current government, want to allocate budget and offload the response to ministries and hospitals. This might be part of the solution but I don't hear anyone talking about the underlying problem. The people overdosing and living on the street are desperate. They have fallen out of society, because below the drugs and homelessness, they have lost purpose in their lives.

I intend to spend my time educating others to gain support for a new kind of program. It won't require any additional funds, drug injection sites, or a new bureaucracy. It will be a new approach where the province can work with local community groups who are already successful in their outreach. It will focus on assisting those people and groups that are working to restore purpose to these people's lives. We need to empower what works, and right now there are people in our community who have had experience with homelessness, drugs and mental health issues. They are already leading the way. We need to empower them by getting out of the way where it counts, offering support where we can and letting our communities find purpose in their outreach programs.

What do you believe is the most important issue in your riding?

Nipissing is a great place to live. Many young people would love to start a family here. That has always been tough, but employment is becoming easier with online workers and access to wider job market. Our biggest challenge right now is a staggering increase in the cost of living and affordable housing. These are not easy problems to solve. But it has to be done now because it won't get any easier. If we want to make Nipissing and Ontario an affordable place to live we have to admit our failures in government policy and get out of the way of free market. We have to see what's worked in the past and do that. We have to let our innovative small businesses and young entrepreneurs hire again with less red tape and clear guidelines for success.

Government can't solve this problem by creating something. Government can solve this problem by not interfering with the spirit of innovation and hard work we already have. Canadians get it. Communities get it. Bureaucracies don't get it.  This election the New Blue Party is prepared to hand the reins back to the people to solve our problems with ingenuity, sacrifice and hard work.


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