The smoke is starting to clear on who is running in two newly-formed ridings in Northeastern Ontario this summer.

MPP for what will become the former Timmins-James Bay riding, Gilles Bisson, has opted to run as a New Democrat for the newly-formed riding of Timmins.

In a release, Bisson says one of the main factors affecting his decision was that he lives in Timmins.

“I was born and raised in Timmins. My wife and I raised our daughters in Timmins, so Timmins is our home.”

“I am very happy that Northern Ontario will be gaining two new voices at Queen’s Park and I’m ready to represent the people of Timmins once again.”

At the same time, Bisson says the decision to run in Timmins was a difficult one.

“I have served the people of Highway 11 and the James Bay coast for nearly 20 years,” he said, “So having the riding split up is like losing a part of the family.”

“I have built many lifelong friendships with people in the Northern and Western part of my riding and I thank them for giving me the honour of serving and working with them.”

Bisson says his work isn’t done in Queen’s Park, noting winter highway road conditions, hydro rates, long-term care and health care will be among his top priorities.

“New Democrats have announced plans for Canada’s first universal pharmacare plan, a hydro plan to bring Hydro One back into public hands and rates down by up to thirty per cent for residents and businesses, a “find-and-fix” public inquiry into long-term care and hospital funding that matches or exceeds inflation, population growth and the unique needs of each community in order to end chronic overcrowding,” he said.

Meantime, hoping to take his spot in representing the Highway 11 corridor—part of the newly-formed Mushkegowuk-James Bay riding— is Guy Bourgouin, who will run with the NDP.

Bourgouin—a longtime resident of Kapuskasing but born in Dubreuilville—is currently President of the United Steelworkers Local 1-2010 in Kapuskasing.

He says he added his name to the nomination because he wants to fight for change in the province.

“I’ve been fighting for workers for many years and when I want to see changes, I do something about it – I go back to the table to fight for what’s right,” he states in a release, “That’s why I’m putting name forward to run as a New Democrat. The NDP has a plan that offers hope to northern Ontario families. Hope that their hydro bills will finally come down and their loved ones will finally get access to health care that they can count on.”

Bisson believes Bourgouin would be a great addition to Queen’s Park.

“Guy has been representing workers in Northern Ontario for many years and will be an excellent MPP,” he said, “He knows the area; he works closely with the community and surrounding First Nations. Guy is fully bilingual, and brings with him an enthusiastic and committed team of volunteers ready for the upcoming election. I look forward to working with him next fall.”

In October, the “Representation Statute Law Amendment Act” passed unanimously, dividing the ridings of Timmins-James Bay and Kenora Rainy-River into four ridings that will be contested in 2018: Kiiwetinoong, Mushkegowuk-James Bay, Timmins, and Kenora-Rainy River.

It’s actually not the first time Bisson has dealt with running in newly-formed ridings. Bisson was first elected in 1990 in what was Cochrane South. Timmins-James Bay was formed in 1999.

Bisson has been NDP House Leader since 2011.

Filed under: Local News