Wild Northerner Magazine 2015/16 Winter Issue - Page 58

Q- What are the main issues you deal with in your riding regarding outdoors issues? What is it like to serve a riding where hunting and fishing is a way of life for many?

A- As MP for a vast northern area, I am tasked with being a voice for people who often feel excluded from the political and economic decision makers that define life in our region. This sense of northern political alienation is rooted in the historic fact that southern Ontario has always looked on the north as a resource colony. In good times, the resources from our communities flow south and sometimes are seen as good. When the resource economy hits hard times, northern communities have to justify their right to proper services – infrastructure, public transportation, and education. The vast disparity in population between the south and the north fluctuates. One of the flashpoints for this disconnection between the urban south and the frontier north is over land management issues. As an MP, I work hard to make urban politicians understand that issues of the land, like hunting and fishing, are very much part of the culture of who we are. We need to insist on the best practices to preserve the sometimes fragile wildlife populations, but we also need to celebrate the traditional ways of living off the land because it very much defines who we are.