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North Bay MPP demands apology from Rinaldi after Northumberland MPP calls northern Ontario "no man's land"

By JENNIFER HAMILTON-MCCHARLES, The Nugget

Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli demanded an apology from the Liberal government today for a derogatory comment made by one of its members in the Legislature last week about Northern Ontario.

“We’ve all seen the video. The member (MPP Lou Rinaldi) from Northumberland-Quinte West yelled a Northern slur to the Member from Parry Sound; I was not in the Chamber at the time,” said Fedeli.

“It’s the member’s shifting explanations he’s sending to my constituents that are in No Man’s Land.”

Fedeli said the member’s views confirm what this government thinks of the North.

“They took away our only passenger train, the North is hit harder with their skyrocketing hydro rates, 80% of our lumber mills shut down on their watch, we fell from the #1 mining jurisdiction to the 16th, and the Ring of Fire remains untouched for 10 years,” he said.

“My constituents want an honest answer from this government. Speaker, either they apologize to the North, or they’re telling all their MPPs that it’s OK to answer the North with lies.”

During a speech by Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller on the North, Rinaldi, speaking off camera, is accused of heckling Miller by referring to the region as “no man’s land.”

The comment was caught by PC MPP Sam Oosterhoff on the floor of the legislature.

North Bay Mayor Al McDonald has requested Rinaldi explain via a telephone call or letter how he intends to address the damage caused by his comment.

Rinaldi, who is the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, calls Oosterhoff's claim an “outright lie.

He maintains that he was addressing Fedeli and the comment had nothing to do with Northern Ontario.