Thunder Bay

Ontario riding profile: Kiiwetinoong

Kiiwetinoong, one of the two new ridings created for the 2018 Ontario provincial election.

New riding takes northern portion of Kenora - Rainy River riding

Kiiwetinoong is one of the two new ridings for the 2018 Ontario provincial election. Kiiwetinoong is shown on the map in light orange. (Government of Ontario)

Kiiwetinoong, one of the two new ridings created for the 2018 Ontario provincial election, is the province's largest geographically but has among the fewest constituents.

The riding, which was severed from the Kenora-Rainy River riding, is 294,083 square kilometres and has a population of 32,987.

Neighbouring Mushkegowuk-James Bay, the other newly created riding, is smaller, stretching over 254,894 square kilometres. It has 30,037 inhabitants.

Kiiwetinoong means "north" in Ojibway. The riding's population is 68 percent Indigenous.

The size of the riding is daunting, with the majority of the communities in the electoral district accessible year-round only by plane. The largest communities in Kiiwetinoong include Sioux Lookout, Red Lake, Ear Falls, Pikangikum and Sandy Lake.

Candidates in the inaugural election in Kiiwetinoong include:

  • Clifford Bull, PC Party, chief of Lac Seul First Nation;
  • Doug Lawrance, Liberal Party, mayor of Sioux Lookout;
  • Sol Mamakwa, NDP, health advisor with Nishnawbe Aski Nation;
  • Christine Penner Polle, Green Party, educator and author.

Penner Polle is the only candidate who is from Red Lake, with the other three candidates from Sioux Lookout.

Bull and Mamakwa are Indigenous. Bull, Mamakwa and Lawrance have all worked together on a variety of projects in Sioux Lookout related to health.

The area covered by the new Kiiwetinoong riding has been held by the NDP under Sarah Campbell and Howard Hampton since the Kenora-Rainy River riding was created in 1999.

At that time, Kenora-Rainy River was created by amalgamating the former ridings of Kenora, Rainy River and Lake Nipigon.


Jeff Walters

Former CBC reporter

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff worked in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario.