NORTH BAY - A North Bay petition with more than 1,700 supporters is gaining momentum in the community.
Callander native Trevor Holliday created the petition on change.org called “To create the Province of ‘Northern Ontario.’”
Here’s what it states:
"The Ontario Government has caused a divide of this beautiful province and vacating as well as segregation of the People of the North in order to solely get votes and not worry about the outcome or affects on Northern Ontario therefore an expansion of provinces is needed. In the 1970's the Northern Ontario Heritage Party saw the same issues and we're right on track.
"Northern Ontario includes: - Algoma, Manitoulin & Kapaskasing - Kenora - Nickle Belt - Nipissing & Timiskaming - Parry Sound & Muskoka - Sault Ste. Marie - Sudbury - Thunder Bay Rainy River - Thunder Bay Superior North - Timmins James Bay The people of Northern Ontario need to unite and be responsible for OUR: -Resources -Hydro -Transportation -Federal Government Financial Allow cation -Health care -Transportation Development & Mining We/you can truly make a difference! The province name I am proposing is not necessarily the official proposed name of the province 'Northern Ontario.'"
Ed Deibel has been down this road before.
More than 40 years ago, Mr. Deibel and a group of northern supporters camped out on the lawn of Queen’s Park demanding to meet with then-premier Bill Davis.
Deibel eventually got in and asked Premier Davis if he would support a plebiscite on whether Northern Ontario should or could be its own political entity.
Deibel, now close to celebrating his 84th birthday, is still fighting for the rights of Northern Ontario as the leader of the Northern Ontario Heritage Party.
While he supports the petition, he believes getting the governments attention on this topic will be a challenge.
“We don’t have any power and that petition with two or three thousand names, they won’t give it the time of day,” said Deibel.
“But if we could have a party and elect 11 members who are there every day. That’s the goal to elect them to the Ontario Legislature, we don’t need a new province.”
However, he’s glad his old idea is gaining some new youthful momentum.
“This movement he is carrying on, I congratulate him, on the basis that I am so proud of the fact that they are carrying on this movement to get our young people into it because they are going to be the ones that are going to move this thing ahead,” he said.
“We are trying to get people to vote for the Northern Ontario Heritage Party on the basis that the three parties in the legislature, they don’t have a manufacturing policy for Northern Ontario, they don’t have an economic policy for Northern Ontario, and this has been going on for 100 years.”