Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
MPP Michael Gravelle (Lib., Thunder Bay - Superior North).
Local MPPs say they're disappointed but ready for a June 12 provincial election.
Provincial NDP Leader Andrea Horwath announced Friday morning that her party wouldn't be supporting the minority Liberal government's budget, triggering an election.
MPP Bill Mauro (Lib., Thunder Bay-Atikokan) said he's not surprised by Horwath's decision.
"I would say most of us felt it was a 50-50 proposition," he said.
The move led Prermier Kathleen Wynne to ask Lieut.-Gov. David Onley Friday to dissolve Provincial Parliament and drop the election writ, officially launching the election campaign.
But his government put forward a great budget that includes a lot for Northwestern Ontario including a $1-billion investment in the Ring of Fire, a minimum wage increase and $100 million for Northern and rural communities.
"All of these things are in the budget and all of these items are at risk," he said.
Now that budget becomes an election platform.
"We're proud and comfortable taking that to the people," Mauro said.
MPP Michael Gravelle (Lib,, Thunder Bay-Superior North) said he's disappointed with the NDP's decision. Voting against the budget is a vote against many important items for the region.
"This was a budget that indeed is important to implement," he said.
But Thunder Bay-Atikokan Progressive Conservative candidate Harold Wilson said it was the right decision. People have been waiting too long for important decisions to be made.
"I was really excited by her announcement but it does seem about a year late," he said.
"There are a lot of things the province hasn’t done. Money doesn’t lead, it follows."
Both ridings are expected to be tight races, which is the way Mauro and Gravelle say they always expect in a campaign. And in a minority situation, a government always needs to be ready for an election.
"I've probably never been this ready," Mauro said. "We're very prepared."
Gravelle said he always campaigns as if he were 20 points behind in the polls.
Wilson said he wants to focus economic development.
"There are a lot of incredible mining projects throughout Northwestern Ontario that haven’t really gone anywhere," he said.
Thunder Bay-Atikokan NDP candidate Mary Kozorys said Horwath reviewed the budget and didn't see that the party could support it.
"This is a budget that's not going to work for the North, "she said.
Kozorys said she didn't want to comment on the campaign itself but her camp is ready.
"When you are working in the political realm you are always ready to go," she said.
Derek Parks, Progressive Conservative candidate for Thunder Bay-Superior North said life in the region hasn't been better in the decade of Liberal governments. There needs to be a focus on job and wealth creation in the North. He wants to take that message to Toronto.
"We want change and we want to be listened to," he said.
On mining, Parks said the Liberals have been wasting an opportunity. He pointed to Cliffs Natural Resources pulling out of the region as an example.
"It takes a special kind of special to chase a Fortune 500 company out of Ontario," he said.
Coun. Andrew Foulds is taking a leave from city council as the NDP candidate for Thunder Bay-Superior North. Knocking on thousands of doors since he was nominated last year, Foulds said he's heard a lot from people who are losing trust in the provincial government.
"The story that I keep hearing time and time again is that it's time for an election," he said.
"We have boondoggle, we have scandal after scandal after scandal. I think people deserve better."