No plans to go north: Rinaldi
Local MPP Lou Rinaldi expressed confidence in Premier Kathleen Wynne's plans to reduce hydro bills. VALERIE MACDONALD Northumberland Today
NORTHUMBERLAND -- Local riding MPP Lou Rinaldi says "no, I'm not going up north."
That is his response to an invitation to visit Northern Ontario issued by PC MPPs he says continue to "play politics" and misconstrue recent remarks he made at Queen's Park.
In a telephone interview Tuesday night, Rinaldi said he has been "up north" for both committee and stakeholder meetings as an MPP and as a provincial government representative over many years. Three or four years ago, he said he spent two weeks with his wife and friends touring and "seeing the beauty of the north.
"So I don't plan to go" in response to a politically motivated invitation, he said.
Rinaldi did say he expected to travel there again in the future.
Earlier Tuesday, PC leader Patrick Brown and Northern Ontario PC MPPs, Ross Romano and Vic Fedeli, issued an invitation to Rinaldi building on PC criticisms levelled against the Southern Ontario MPP that began during legislative debate last Thursday and continued into Monday.
Rinaldi has said the "no man's land" statement he made to Fedeli was in reference to Fedeli being off topic during debate on a Bill, that among other things, creates two new ridings in Northern Ontario. It was not about the north itself, Rinaldi said.
When Rinaldi followed this up Monday with a comment to "take it outside" as PC candidates continued to take his Thursday remark out of context, this was so they didn't have the protection of the Legislature and the local MPP could take action - but not to fight, he told this newspaper.
In a statement released Tuesday, Rinaldi "this invitation is just a further attempt by the PC party to play politics. The PCs have made incorrect and unfair assertions about the meaning of my comments, taking my words entirely out of context.
"As a government, our commitment to Northern Ontario is unequivocal. And as the member for Northumberland-Quinte West, my commitment to my constituents is equally unequivocal. I intend to continue to serve my community and province, as the PCs continue to throw mud to distract from their lack of a plan for all parts of Ontario."