Guy Bourgouin, president of the United Steelworkers Local 1-2010, announced his intention to seek the nomination as the provincial New Democratic Party candidate for the new riding of Mushkegowuk-James Bay (which includes Kapuskasing) in the provincial election this spring.
Bourgouin said 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. 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.” Bourgouin, who was born in Dubreuilville and is of Métis decent, has lived in Kapuskasing for 22 years with his wife, Manon, and two kids Anabel and Jérémy.
According to a release issued by the NDP Thursday morning, Bourgouin "has been fighting for workers with the United Steelworkers for 22 years and has been the president of the local for 15 years. Bourgouin has spent most of his career advocating changes to help for working families at all levels of government. Through his local, Bourgouin represents workers from different sectors across Northern Ontario, from Sudbury to the Manitoba border, such as woodlands, sawmills, plywood plants, health care services, hardware stores, janitorial services and social services.
NDP MPP Gilles Bisson said he is sad to no longer represent the people along the Highway 11 corridor and the James Bay coast but he is confident Bourgouin will be a great addition to Queen’s Park.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," Bisson 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.”
Bisson, who has represented the area since 1999 when the riding of Timmins-James Bay was created, will be running for re-election in the new riding of Timmins.
“This was a very difficult decision for me. I have served the people of Highway 11 and the James Bay coast for nearly twenty years so having the riding split up is like losing a part of the family,” Bisson said.
“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.”
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.
Bisson said that 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.”
Bisson said his work is not done at Queen’s Park, noting that winter highway road conditions, hydro rates, long-term care, and health care are 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
“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” Bisson said.
Bisson was first elected to the Legislature in 1990 as the Member of Provincial Parliament for the former riding of Cochrane South and has held the seat for the Timmins-James Bay riding since its creation in 1999. He has also served as House Leader for the Ontario NDP at Queen’s Park since 2011.