With the federal election set for September 20, 2021, SaultOnline asked Mayor Christian Provenzano what he thought the big issues were facing the City of Sault Ste. Marie, and if he could get one thing from the federal government, what would it be.
Dan: “What is one thing, regardless of who’s in power, that you would look to receive from the federal government for the City of Sault Ste. Marie going forward?”
Mayor Provenzano: “Well look, I think there [are] really two things that I would say that I’m kind of, as a voter and as a mayor, concerned about — when you’re looking at this Federal election, one of which is climate change.
You know I was thinking earlier this week, that for the first time in my life, I feel like a single issue voter because that’s such a dominant and concerning issue. And, you know, I think we’ll look at what parties have the best policies and plans to address that. So, that is something that is top of mind.
I think when you look at our own community, one of the biggest challenges we’re facing, [and] you’re seeing communities face it across Northern Ontario, is the mental health and addictions crisis.
Now that is largely something that is a provincial responsibility, and that healthcare is a provincial responsibility, but the feds do fund health care. And I’ve been saying for a while that our healthcare system is under structured, and under capacity, for mental health and addictions, and we need to build that capacity.
I think that capacity has to be built by, frankly, the provincial government with support from the federal government. So, you know, those would be the two things that I would be mindful of.”
Dan: “This will go back to our previous conversations where the mental health and addictions is a significant contributor to the crime in the community, correct?”
Mayor Provenzano: “So, yeah, the downstream effect is you have a lot of people who are struggling that resort to nonviolent crimes. I’ve been consistent [with] my position that, we should treat the creators of the of the narcotics, and the distributors of the narcotics, as criminals. And do our best to apply and enforce the criminal law.
People that have substance abuse issues need health care, and we have to find them the healthcare that they do need. But yeah, there’s no question that some of the increase in non-violent crime relates to addiction, and some of the increase in violent crime relates to the distribution of the drugs and the different parties that are looking to have market share on that. So, it is an overlying significant issue that we have to address, and it is a concerning issue across the region, [these] problems.”
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