RIDING PROFILE: Thunder Bay-Superior North

Thunder Bay-Superior North is commonly referred to as the “north side riding” within Thunder Bay. It also includes the municipalities of Greenstone, Marathon, Terrace Bay, Schreiber and Nipigon, as well as several First Nations including Ginoogaming, Long Lake 58, Biigtigong Nishnaabeg and Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek.

Liberal MP Patty Hajdu was re-elected in 2019, after first winning in 2015.

Who’s running in Thunder Bay-Superior North?

Chantelle Bryson, New Democratic Party

Chantelle Bryson is the New Democratic Party candidate in the Thunder Bay-Superior North riding in the 2021 federal election. (Supplied by Chantelle Bryson)

Tell us about yourself and what makes you qualified to be an MP for northwestern Ontario.

I am the youngest of eight kids in a large immigrant family and the only girl. I have worked since I was ten years old in a wide variety of jobs, from cleaning to lifeguarding to bartending. I know what it is like to be poor and vulnerable, to struggle to put a roof over my head, food on the table and to put myself through school. I am a fighter and a person of personal and professional integrity.  

As a lawyer, I have worked with municipalities and First Nations across the riding of Thunder Bay-Superior North for two decades. I know the issues and needs on the ground, the community leaders, the barriers to addressing those issues, Indigenous, federal, provincial and municipal jurisdiction limits and how to get all players to work together to achieve results. I have the skills, experience and work ethic required to engage all levels of government to implement effective solutions to our real problems in Thunder Bay-Superior North.

Our listeners have identified climate change as their No. 1 concern this election. What is your party’s greenhouse gas emissions target and timeline, and what policies will you put into place to reach that target?

The NDP are committed to reduce the 2005 green house gas emissions by 50 per cent by 2030. We are also committed to bring hydro-electricity to net-carbon zero by 2030 and carbon zero by 2050. Our plan includes massive investment in green infrastructure, green energy, electric vehicles, and the retrofitting of all existing buildings by 2050. We will immediately end the oil and gas subsidies paid out by the Liberal government, $18 billion in 2020 alone. These funds along with the ultra-wealth and large corporation profit tax will support individuals and the government with retrofit projects and the purchase of electric vehicles, as well as binding green transition legislation to support workers and communities facing difficult transitions from fossil fuels to the green economy.

Further, the NDP is committed to true equity for First Nation communities so they have the resources to transition to green energy and to crisis proof their homes and buildings from flood and fire.

What do you feel are the biggest environmental issues facing the northwest and how will you address them?

Our riding hosts resource industries that have already made great strides toward cleaner and safer operations. The NDP is committed to continue to support our thriving industries in research and development to green their operations and support their workers in any necessary transition to new positions.  

We are also committed to address the root cause of the Grassy Narrows disaster that has been ignored by successive governments. Although the Liberal government made an election promise to fund the healing clinic for the mercury poisoning effects experienced by successive generations of community members, they have failed to promise to clean up the source of the contamination at the now Domtar mill site and in the river bed itself. The NDP will establish the healing centre and clean up the river.

Further, we will establish an Office of Environmental Justice to preclude further issues of environmental racism of this nature, where racialized communities are ignored when facing grave environmental harms.

Our listeners have also listed economic recovery and ending poverty as two important issues for the next government. How do you think we can promote economic recovery in the northwest while also lifting people out of poverty?

The NDP is the only party committed to a fundamental shift in taxation fairness to the ultra-wealthy with a 1 per cent tax on those with $10 million or more in wealth and to large corporations that benefited disproportionately and, at times, unethically due to the pandemic and a lack of government taxation and subsidy controls. The NDP will place a 15 per cent tax on pandemic profits and claw back wage and rent subsidies and bailout funds provided to large corporation that then went into executive bonuses and dividends. It will also permanently raise the large corporate tax from 15 to 18 per cent in recognition that the neo-liberal concept of trickle-down benefits have repeatedly proven to be false.

With these sustainable funds, the NDP will invest in the real needs of our most vulnerable citizens, seniors, the disabled, the addicted, racialized workers and youth. We will provide increased affordable housing, a minimum basic income for all on EI or government benefits or pensions, fully funded pharma-care, child-care, effective local mental health and addiction services, reduced tuition and student debt relief, and capped cell phone and broadband packages.  

We can only negate poverty and its ills by an investment in the real needs of people through a redistribution of resources.

Our listeners have told us that they are very concerned about Canada’s relationship with Indigenous people. What will your party do to repair that relationship?

I have worked with Indigenous youth and communities for over two decades. The Liberals and Conservatives treat Indigenous people and communities as a charity project, ignoring their legal rights to equity in public services, implementation of treaty rights and self-government. They are subjected to government racism, paternalism, inequitable funding and complete disregard for implementation of their treaty rights in real time. The Liberal and Conservative governments are engaged in a perpetual one-sided, abusive relationship with Indigenous people.

The NDP is committed to the actual implementation of treaty rights, including self-government, resource sharing, and schools at home. The NDP is further committed to equitable funding for public services on reserve, including housing, education, health, water and policing. This is the law of our land, by treaty, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms under our Constitution and domestic and international human rights laws.  

Finally, the NDP is committed to combat racism in government action such as the Liberal denial of the Nova Scotia fishing rights as affirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada Marshall decisions, its continuing litigation against the St. Anne Residential School survivors seeking access to their own historical abuse records and against the Indigenous kids needing equitable access to health and education services, and its failure to hold the RCMP to account for racist and discriminatory treatment of Indigenous fishers and protestors regarding valid Treaty and land rights.

What aspects of your party platform do you think are most important to highlight for northwestern Ontario?

The NDP are the only party proposing a fundamental shift in taxation to fairness, to provide the funds necessary to address our actual community needs — industry and small business support, worker rights, safety and pensions, seniors and student support, increased health and mental health services, affordable housing and addiction care. We are the party of integrity working for the vulnerable, workers and families and not the wealthy and large corporations in friendly ridings.

Thunder Bay-Superior North deserves better and we will fight to address the riding needs every day, including working with other MPs and parties to get the job done. The NDP is in it for you, your families and communities.

Rick Daines, People’s Party of Canada

Rick Daines is the People’s Party of Canada candidate in the Thunder Bay-Superior North riding in the 2021 federal election. (Supplied by Rick Daines)

Tell us about yourself and what makes you qualified to be an MP for northwestern Ontario.

I am a family man, married 23 years with three children ages 24, 21, and 20. I had a career in law enforcement for 13 years. I have been operating a grocery store as well as a Bed and Breakfast and rental properties with my wife as my partner. My career in law enforcement and oath to uphold our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has provided me with a respect for the rights that we hold dear in our great country. My time in private business has provided me the opportunity to see how hard business owners and how hard Canadians work to be successful.

I have a great respect for all Canadians and realize how hard it can be to raise a family with the every day burdens that life can throw at us, and I know firsthand how difficult things can be when our government imposes rules and policies that can make it a challenge just to make ends meet. I will work tirelessly to ensure that all Canadians will be respected and that our government reduces the burdens on hard working individuals and families rather than impose decisions that add to the already tax burdened citizens.

Our listeners have identified climate change as their No. 1 concern this election. What is your party’s greenhouse gas emissions target and timeline, and what policies will you put into place to reach that target?

Climate change alarmism is based on flawed models that have consistently failed at correctly predicting the future. None of the cataclysmic predictions that have been made about the climate since the 1970s have come true. No new ice age. No steady warming in direct relation with increases in carbon dioxide levels. No disappearance of polar ice caps. No exceptional rise in ocean levels. No abnormal increase in catastrophic weather events. No widespread crop failure and famine. The People’s Party will prioritize implementing practical solutions to make Canada’s air, water and soil cleaner, including bringing clean drinking water to remote First Nations communities.

What do you feel are the biggest environmental issues facing the northwest and how will you address them?

I think the biggest issue in the northwest, along with most of the rest of the country, is the illusion from our government that throwing money at it will fix it. We all need to be responsible for the environment and respect it, however to always call it an emergency and tell people that we need to give more money to fix it is incorrect and irresponsible. We need to talk to experts and listen regardless if we like the answers and find actual solutions that make sense and that are sustainable for our future.

Our listeners have also listed economic recovery and ending poverty as two important issues for the next government. How do you think we can promote economic recovery in the northwest while also lifting people out of poverty?

We need to reduce the financial burdens and put an end to harmful government interventions and interference on businesses. Reduce financial burdens by stopping the printing of money and reducing inflation rates, stop bailing out failing businesses with taxpayer money, eliminate the carbon tax, eliminate the deficit over the course of one mandate, as the deficit is eliminated and cut personal income tax rates. These measures will leave more money in everyone’s pockets. This is how people will be lifted out of poverty and the economy will recover.

Our listeners have told us that they are very concerned about Canada’s relationship with Indigenous people. What will your party do to repair that relationship?

A People’s Party government will explore options to replace the paternalistic Indian Act, which keeps Indigenous peoples in a state of dependency and allows the federal government to control most aspects of their lives, with a new legal framework that guarantees equal rights and responsibilities to indigenous people as Canadians, and promotes the self-reliance of communities. A People’s Party government will respect our Constitution and treaties. It will reaffirm the federal government’s power to approve natural resources and infrastructure projects, after adequate consultations with affected indigenous groups, and in partnership with them to ensure they can benefit from these economic opportunities.

What aspects of your party platform do you think are most important to highlight for northwestern Ontario?

I covered briefly the economy and Indigenous issues, next to those our platform provides direction for firearm owners to be treated with fairness to allow legal firearm owners to keep their guns and to prevent arbitrary future changes. Repeal Trudeau’s ban on 1500 types of firearms, prioritize effective measures to improve public safety and fight crime in Canada. Leave lawful gun owners to the ownership of their firearms and their property rights.

Also, the PPC will protect the freedom that Canadians have come to enjoy. The PPC will ensure to uphold all aspects of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, repeal bills C-10, C-36, C-16, M-103 ensuring that Canadians maintain their right to freedom of expression, and ensure that nobody is discriminated against because of their moral convictions.

Patty Hajdu, Liberal Party of Canada

Patty Hajdu is the Liberal Party of Canada candidate in the Thunder Bay-Superior North riding in the 2021 federal election. (Supplied by Patty Hajdu)

Tell us about yourself and what makes you qualified to be an MP for northwestern Ontario.

I have been the Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay-Superior North for the past six years. During that time, I have held several cabinet portfolios, including most recently health. The six years I have served as a member of Parliament have allowed me to gain an even deeper understanding of our region, its unique challenges, its strengths, and opportunities. I have forged relationships with community members and leaders across the riding, leading to successful project funding and completion. 

Over the past six years, I have pursued policy in Ottawa that reflects the needs of Northern Ontario, including expanded access to clean energy projects that are Indigenous led, better support and more more funding for northern Ontario economic development, the launch of a Northern Immigration Pilot that is helping address our shrinking population and growing labour shortage, and the many infrastructure projects that have helped sustain and build up our communities, like small docks, waterfront marinas, safer highways, water and wastewater plants and affordable housing. 

As a cabinet minister and member of Parliament, I routinely use the lessons of northern Ontario to ensure that our government and the House of Commons reflects policy, spending and legislation that has a northern and rural lens.

Our listeners have identified climate change as their No. 1 concern this election. What is your party’s greenhouse gas emissions target and timeline, and what policies will you put into place to reach that target?

Our Liberal government has done more to fight climate change than any other in Canadian history. We put a price on pollution, and are making historic investments in nature conservation and public transit. We are phasing out coal fired electricity and supporting the move towards renewable energy.

We’ve supported Canadians to reduce their emissions with credits of up to $5,000 towards a zero emission vehicle, and $5,000 in home upgrades for energy efficiency.

To speed up the switch to cleaner vehicles, we will build 50,000 more zero emission vehicle chargers, require at least half of all passenger vehicles sold in Canada to be zero emission by 2030 and all to be zero emission by 2035. 

We will create ten new national parks and ten new National Marine Conservation Areas in the next five years, and train 1,000 new community-based firefighters to help with forest fires.

We will build a net-zero electricity grid by 2035, and drive down emissions from oil and gas to meet our shared goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. We will continue to phase out coal by ending thermal coal exports by 2030 and we will eliminate fossil fuel subsidies in two years.

What do you feel are the biggest environmental issues facing the northwest and how will you address them?

Many people are still not sure how climate change will affect them personally, and how they can protect the environment and their region. Our forests, lakes, and northern way of life have been affected by forest fires, floods, invasive species including ticks, drought. All of these changes are noticeable in Thunder Bay-Superior North. The action on climate has to be fast, real and driven by science. 

As a re-elected member of Parliament, I will continue to push at every table for real solutions to address all aspects of this crisis. I will ensure that we continue to provide support for people and communities so that we have the tools, financial support, and innovation needed to drive down demand for carbon emitting energy sources. I will also continue to advocate for accelerated and greater investments in clean energy technology that can replace what we use now to heat our homes and for transportation. I commit to including Indigenous leaders and communities in this work every step of the way. Finally, I will continue to fight for the protection and clean up of Lake Superior through conservancy, investment, and support for the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area.

Our listeners have also listed economic recovery and ending poverty as two important issues for the next government. How do you think we can promote economic recovery in the northwest while also lifting people out of poverty?

Poverty reduction and economic development are closely linked. In fact, the less poverty, the better our economy. Our government has prioritized poverty reduction since our election in 2015. The Canada Child Benefit has lifted 435,000 children out of poverty. We restored the age of retirement back to 65 from 67. We increased the Canada Pension Plan’s maximum yearly benefit for future retirees by about 50 per cent. We increased the Working Income Tax Benefit for low earners, and we strengthened the Canada Labour Code, improving conditions for federally regulated workers.

In northern Ontario, we increased funding for FedNor and in Budget 2021, made it an independent agency with greater agility and ability to act independently on behalf of our region. We continue to fund economic development agencies that work specifically in the smaller and rural parts of our riding to foster small business development and growth.

A re-elected Liberal government will implement $10 a day childcare, continue to support businesses to hire the help they need, and improve the Employment Insurance system to support gig workers and the self-employed. We will continue our important work on increasing representation of diverse groups in the workforce to ensure we leave no talent behind.

Our listeners have told us that they are very concerned about Canada’s relationship with Indigenous people.  What will your party do to repair that relationship? 

Our Liberal government has prioritized Indigenous reconciliation. Since Day 1, we have worked with Indigenous communities to build nation-to-nation, Inuit- Crown, government-to-government relationships based on respect, partnership, and the affirmation and recognition of rights. Whether on water, infrastructure, housing or education, we are consistently committed to closing the funding gaps. Over 80 per cent of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action involving the Government of Canada are now completed or well underway. We passed Bill C-15 to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We also passed legislation that affirms the inherent right of First Nation, Inuit, and Métis communities to exercise jurisdiction over child and family services, and increased funding to these services by $3 billion. We will continue to focus on equity in funding for housing, education, skills training, and health care. 

During the pandemic, we provided Indigenous communities over $5.4 billion in targeted and flexible COVID-19 support, and made sure First Nations, Inuit, and Métis were prioritized for vaccination in all jurisdictions. A re-elected Liberal government will continue our work together on ensuring equity, self-determination and Indigenous rights are upheld.

What aspects of your party platform do you think are most important to highlight for northwestern Ontario?

Affordable childcare and housing, investments in health care, including pharmacare, and increased investments for mental health and problematic substance use are all important priorities for our region. We will address the rural health care shortage by expanding family doctors and primary health teams in rural communities. We will increase by 50 per cent the maximum debt relief that family doctors, residents in family medicine, nurse practitioners, or nurses are eligible for under the Canada Student Loans forgiveness program. 

We will also expand the list of professionals eligible for forgiveness to include dentists, pharmacists, dental hygienists, midwives, social workers, psychologists, teachers, and early childhood educators so that rural communities have greater access to the full suite of health and social service providers they need.

Our platform presents an ambitious and targeted climate plan, something that is critical to the health, wellness and economy of northwestern Ontario and all of Canada. It supports job development, ongoing investments in rural and northern infrastructure like better broadband and green energy projects, which will also build the region’s assets, people, and businesses. 

Finally, we will continue the important work on reconciliation through partnered action, equitable funding and co-developed legislation. 

Amanda Moddejonge, Green Party of Canada

Amanda Moddejonge is the Green Party of Canada candidate in the Thunder Bay-Superior North riding in the 2021 federal election.

Tell us about yourself and what makes you qualified to be an MP for northwestern Ontario.

I am a certified Environmental Practitioner, Certified Technician (C.Tech) through OACETT, educated in environmental sciences and Aboriginal-Canadian Relations, and was taught about the Constitution of Canada by a Status Indian who is a recognized Indigenous Scholar. I understand the unique needs of northern Ontario, and I know what the actual roles and responsibilities of the Federal Government are in relation to the unique populations in Thunder Bay-Superior North.

Our listeners have identified climate change as their No. 1 concern this election.  What is your party’s greenhouse gas emissions target and timeline, and what policies will you put into place to reach that target?

We will ensure a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 60 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, with clear enforceable targets and timelines starting in 2030. We aren’t striving for net-zero emissions, we are striving for negative net emissions — and we will reach it by 2050. We have several initiatives, but my favourites include:

  • a ban on hydraulic fracturing (fracking)
  • an end to all subsidies to the fossil fuel sector
  • an implementation of a ban on federal public investment funds for fossil fuels (including the Canada Pension Plan)

And we will ensure that companies are held accountable for paying for the cost of cleaning up and restoring land — instead of passing this along to the public.

What do you feel are the biggest environmental issues facing the northwest and how will you address them?

There are several environmental issues facing the north. The first thing I would do is actually work on the Duty to Consult First Nations. Most of the major environmental projects that are in areas that require consultation. To say that the current practices are less than ideal would be the kindest way to state that this needs to be improved upon greatly, and quickly. The current standards indicate that so long as there is no ‘push back’ the consultation is a success. What this means is the softer and quieter this is conveyed the better it is because this ensures the people who need to know the realities of a situation in order to ask informed questions never get the chance to do so. With this one can be assured of no transparency, no accountability, and no ethical practices will be applied projects of all sizes.

Our listeners have also listed economic recovery and ending poverty as two important issues for the next government.  How do you think we can promote economic recovery in the northwest while also lifting people out of poverty?

The first thing we need to recognize is that we are actually still in the mitigation stage of this pandemic. With that said, we need to continue to protect businesses and workers in ways that actually help them. The Universal Basic Income will help in all stages of this pandemic, not just recovery. It will bring allow us to focus our energies on the things we need to focus on most in order to prepare ourselves for that economic recovery.  In some instances this will mean re-training. In addition to the Universal Basic Income we will also support free tuition for Canadian college, university and CEGEP students. We do not believe that only college students should be included in this because different jobs require different types of training and education- this is not the methods that any other parties consider when looking at funding for post-secondary education.

Our listeners have told us that they are very concerned about Canada’s relationship with Indigenous people. What will your party do to repair that relationship? 

I would suggest your listeners are correct to feel this way.  I am concerned enough that I recently completed a degree in Indigenous Learning in order to understand what the relationship is, how it got there, and what our Constitutional requirements towards First Nation people and communities actually is.  

Learning this is not just a matter of understanding what the ‘legal requirements’ are, but it is an amazing starting point. This helps be respectful, and it also helps to create equitable relationships that lead to legislation and policies going forward that benefit all communities.

One of the many things my party is focused on doing is creating the Council of Canadian Governments. This will essentially be a forum for all levels of government to get together and talk about the issues that face communities. Looking to only one level of government to deal with any particular issue will inevitably lead to a silo effect. Rarely do real answers that affect so many people and levels of government ever come out of a conversation with only one party to that talk at the table.

What aspects of your party platform do you think are most important to highlight for northwestern Ontario?

I would suggest that is the part of the platform that is rooted in real science. I don’t mean just chemistry or biology, but every aspect. Even the universal basic income has been tested and it is known to be effective.  Prior to the last election a pilot program for universal basic income was tested in many communities, including Thunder Bay.  We know this works because the data proves it. We eliminate unnecessary spending because we implement real solutions.

Joshua Taylor, Conservative Party of Canada

Joshua Taylor is the Conservative Party of Canada candidate in the Thunder Bay-Superior North riding in the 2021 federal election. (Supplied by Joshua Taylor)

Tell us about yourself and what makes you qualified to be an MP for northwestern Ontario.

I don’t believe there are any sort of official qualifications or credentials that can make somebody qualified to be an MP in northwestern Ontario. The most important qualities for a potential MP to have is a commitment to their constituents, and a readiness to stand up for what’s important/right. Aside from my university education, I’ve been in northwestern Ontario for the entirety of my life. This makes me acutely aware of the difficulties faced in our riding. My education in criminology and kinesiology has provided me the tools necessary to identify solutions to many of the issues plaguing our communities. Crime and social inequality are prime examples.

Our listeners have identified climate change as their No. 1 concern this election. What is your party’s greenhouse gas emissions target and timeline, and what policies will you put into place to reach that target?

Our greenhouse gas emissions target is to stay on track with the Paris agreement. We will ensure Canada follows it’s 2030 timeline to reach its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 30 per cent of its 2005 levels. We will reach this goal by setting industrial carbon prices at a level that is both environmentally considerate and economically competitive. Big polluters and corporations are the biggest polluters and need to be held accountable for their emissions. We will transition at least 30 per cent of our light-duty vehicles to zero-emission alternatives. Innovation is also essential, we will be considering hydrogen as a source of fuel as it is a cleaner alternative to conventional gasoline. To encourage more people to transition to electric vehicles, we will ensure that infrastructure such as charging stations are made more widely available, to make driving an electric vehicle feasible. In addition to our domestic approach, it’s crucial that we advocate for greenhouse gas emissions globally. 

What do you feel are the biggest environmental issues facing the northwest and how will you address them?

A massive environmental issue facing our local communities is fire management. Northern Ontario is an expansive region and there is a limited amount of firefighters available to combat all of the fires which threaten our region each summer. We’re going to ensure that fires are controlled more effectively by implementing technologies such as remote sensing. Firefighters can’t be everywhere at once, so being able to better predict fire behaviour will allow for more optimal resource implementation. Additionally, we will ensure that more of our land/forests are protected. Currently, only 12 per cent of our forests are protected and we aim to preserve 25 per cent of terrestrial lands through broadening what is considered a protected area.

Our listeners have also listed economic recovery and ending poverty as two important issues for the next government. How do you think we can promote economic recovery in the northwest while also lifting people out of poverty?

To ensure that people are lifted out of poverty, we need to create strategies to provide solutions to demographics which are disproportionately affected by it. Creating strategies that address our most vulnerable people, such as seniors, Indigenous people and veterans will allow us to treat the underlying causes of their poverty. In addition to this, having an economic environment which is most conducive to an economic recovery is essential. We will help employers and small businesses get back on their feet by subsidizing the wages of their new hires, by giving loans with forgivable portions and also by allowing them to benefit from increased consumer traffic during key shopping seasons by implementing a GST holiday, which will encourage higher rates of consumption overall.

Our listeners have told us that they are very concerned about Canada’s relationship with Indigenous people. What will your party do to repair that relationship?

As soon as we take office, we will immediately start working to lift all of the boil water advisories and ensure that every First Nations community is afforded clean drinking water as they always should have been. Additionally, we will implement 71 through 76 of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action and we will ensure that a thorough investigation is done of the burial grounds related to the residential schools. We must ensure that Indigenous people are the determinants of their own futures, as this is a core tenant of self-determination. We must engage Indigenous people in all environmental assessments pertaining to projects around their communities to ensure that they can benefit economically while also remaining confident that the environment will be protected. We need to ask Indigenous people what they want, instead of telling them what we think they want.

What aspects of your party platform do you think are most important to highlight for northwestern Ontario?

Our focus on crime is incredibly important. Thunder Bay has some of the highest crime rates in Canada. We will work to ensure that gangs are properly addressed within our region. Gangs smuggle guns into our communities as well as deadly, illicit drugs. They prey on our most vulnerable people and we will create an official gang strategy to combat this. Furthermore, we will help victims of domestic violence by creating “Clare’s Law,” which will make it necessary for law enforcement to inform victims about an accused person’s relevant criminal history. We know that people who abuse animals tend to progress to inflicting harm on humans. We will enable cross-reporting between animal and child welfare agencies. This way, children will not be placed in the home of people who are known animal abusers.

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