The MPP for Timiskaming-Cochrane believes the Ontario Liberals really want to do the right thing when it comes to First Nation reconciliation. He believes that’s why a new riding for Northeastern Ontario in the far north was named Mushkegowuk because it takes in the First Nation communities along the James Bay coastline.
However MPP John Vanthof says the name misses the mark as was pointed out by Indigenous leaders. Vanthof says calling the riding Mushkegowuk gives the impression that it has a large Indigenous population when the opposite is true. He says the majority of the riding, in this case in excess of 60 percent is Francophone. Vanthof says there are more appropriate names that reflect the true nature of the riding like calling it Kapuskasing-James Bay or Hearst-James Bay.
To address the earlier criticism, Vanthof says the riding was then changed to Mushkegowuk- James Bay despite more First Nation objections. Vanthof says he isn’t surprised that the Liberals haven’t listened to First Nation people on what to call the riding. The New Democrat says the Wynne Liberals have become so used to saying they listen to the people but then turnaround and do something that’s the opposite. After the revised name of Mushkegowuk- James Bay was again criticized by First Nations, the Liberals said they will re-visit the name in the future.