**Over the past ten years I have been moderately political active. Each election, at all levels, I have generally picked a candidate to support, and volunteered for their campaign. Initially a Liberal, I became increasingly disgruntled by the state of our region under Liberal leadership. Typical to political form, the promises were made, but nothing was ever delivered. This election I was unable to participate due to employment with a particular non partisan government body. My employment is over, and my contract is nulled...So for a minute, you will have to deal with it while I hop up on my soap box (That's England talking!!)**
At 4am this morning I received a text message...I was asleep - almost (not sleeping much these days!). Anyway the message announced that the NDP had swept Thunder Bay. I do not want to get into Canadian politicals, but all I can say is "WOOHOO!".
Since 1988, under the leadership of our local Liberal, Thunder Bay has seen a steadily declining population. The reason? Jobs (or lack there of). Poor economy. Collapse of industry. Northern Ontario offers few opportunities to those of us who are young and/or educated. Case in point - I am sitting in London, hoping for work. It's not jus the young and/or educated - its everyone. The result of mass joblessness?? Depression, alcoholism, etc. I am not saying that Thunder Bay is a depressed alcoholic - but there is an alarming sense of disparity within the city. Was it my first choice to leave TBay? No. But you can't pay the bills with air.
You might wonder why I blame our former leader. Well...he did very little to encourage economic growth. Now I know that every Liberal will disagree with me. But seriously - since when are telemarketing businesses, a sign of positive job growth? A university and college sit in our city, graduating some of the most inquiring, motivated minds in Canada -and the result? These individuals are forced to move elsewhere for employment. How many of us have friends and family currently residing in Alberta? Too many.
Industries are collapsing in Northern Ontario. Luckily mining development is well underway, but this will be beneficial only to a small segment of the population.
I have great hope and confidence that the reintroduction of the NDP to Northern Ontario will provide new hope to our region. I do believe that Mr. Hyer (and I'm sure Mr. Rafferty, though I do not know him personally) will work hard for our region, and do everything possible to bring back stability. It won't happen over night - it can't...too much time has been allowed to pass for the changes to be quick - but it has to get better. Both candidates will face scrutiny, and increased judgement from the average individual..strength in the face of adversity.
I am not a political scientist. I am not an economist - just someone discouraged by the state of a struggling city.
**I'll step down off my soapbox now, albeit with a look of relief, and hope for the future :)