MPs Talk Northern Ontario Issues in Sault Ste. Marie

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Northern Ontario MPs
Members of the Northern Ontario Caucus and Minister Bill Blair. L to R: Minister Bill Blair, MP Anthony Rota (Nipissing-Timiskaming), MP Marc Serré (Nickle Belt), MP Terry Sheehan (Sault Ste. Marie) and MP Paul Lefebvre (Sudbury).

While Bill Blair, Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction was in town last week, MPs from across Northern Ontario including MP Terry Sheehan, MP Paul Lefebvre-Sudbury, MP Anthony Rota-Nipissing—Timiskaming, and MP Marc Serré-Nickle Belt gathered in Sault Ste. Marie to discuss issues unique to the North.

Northern Ontario Liberal Caucus Chair MP Sheehan and Northern Ontario MPs, spoke to Minister Blair about rural and remote concerns including the impact of the opioid crisis, access to broadband, and crime in Northern Ontario. Minister Blair promised to take Northern Ontario concerns seriously, and to continue working with Northern Ontario MPs in moving forward.

Minister Blair and MP Terry Sheehan toured Tenaris Algoma Tubes, and learned more about the plants manufacturing process, before announcing $16 million in federal funding to support the expansion of jobs and manufacturing.

Northern Ontario MPs
1- Minister Blair and Terry Sheehan speaking with CBSA Officer Abbot from K9 unit at Border Crossing station downtown.

Minister Blair and MPs then paid a visit to the border facility downtown, and the dedicated Canadian Border Services Agency workers who protect our border. The Minister and MP’s saw the results of infrastructure and operational upgrades at the facility first hand (the expansion of the site infrastructure, the widening of the bridge’s north access ramp, the construction of the new Duty Free shop, the new maintenance garage, new CBSA traffic and commercial building and the addition of new and replacement of existing primary inspection lanes).

While there, agents spoke to Minister Blair about new drug-screening capabilities, including machines designed to detect and neutralize smuggled fentanyl.

“Protecting Canadians’ safety and security is a top priority for our government. That’s why we are supporting our front-line CBSA and RCMP officers with an $86 million investment that will give them the tools and training they need to intercept and stop the flow of illegal firearms across our border to keep communities like Sault Ste. Marie safe from guns and gangs.” – The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister for Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction

Northern Ontario MPs
3- Minister Blair and MP Terry Sheehan speaking with L-R: Deputy Chief Robert MacLachlan, Chief Hugh Stevenson of SSM police department.

Minister Blair and MP Sheehan later met with Sault Police Chief Hugh Stevenson, Deputy Chief Robert MacLachlan, and Sergeant Darin Rossetto at the Neighbourhood Resource Centre on Gore Street. Minister Blair, as a former Chief of Police in Toronto, was very impressed by the services working together to help people in the downtown core. Chief Stevenson and Minister Blair also discussed issues surrounding catch-and-release, the regulation of marijuana, and the productive relationships between police and service providers in Sault Ste. Marie.