Sol Mamawka elected Kiiwetinoong NDP candidate
Tim Brody - Associate Editor
The Ontario New Democratic Party has elected Sol Mamakwa as its candidate in the Kiiwetinoong riding.
Mamakwa, a resident of Sioux Lookout and a Kingfisher Lake band member, was nominated last Wednesday night in Sioux Lookout by Dr. Michael Kirlew. Matt Bennett seconded the nomination which was approved unanimously by NDP members present at Mamakwa’s new campaign office located at 66 ½ Front Street.
Mamakwa’s appointment was accompanied by traditional drumming and song.
“It’s an honour. It’s surreal,” he said after being nominated. “I’ve been so busy the last couple of weeks with work, to see it happen, the task I’m given, the songs, prayers, that means a lot… it’s exciting. I feel confident in the work ahead and I look forward to meeting people from the riding and also visiting communities and hearing the stories and hearing what’s happening.”
“I know that there are many people living in this new riding. I intend to represent all citizens that make this part of the North their home,” Mamakwa said. “There are also many issues that impact all people in the Kiiwetinoong riding, which require immediate attention from Queen’s Park.”
Mamakwa has taken a leave of absence from his work with Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) as the Health Transformation Internal Lead and Health Advisor.
Mamakwa has also been active with the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA), Sioux Lookout Physicians Regional Services Inc. (SLRPSI), Co-chair of the Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre (SLMHC), and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM).
Mamakwa said of his decision to run for the position of Kiiwetinoong MPP, “Over the last couple of years, my work took me away from Sioux Lookout to work on what we call health transformation within NAN territory… over that process, I began to learn that health transformation will not be successful unless you deal with the other issues related to social determinants of health such as infrastructure, water, employment opportunities, education. I see this opportunity presents itself to look at more of a holistic approach to dealing with the issues that face the North, that face Kiiwetinoong.”
He further stated, “I want to be able to work with First Nations, as well as non-First Nations, communities and have a voice together.”
“I’ve learned to understand that this is a colonial government and to work under those structures, I’ll have to learn, navigate how to make the system work for the north, for the people of this riding. I think that’s what I’m here for,” he said.
Mamakwa plans to visit as many communities in the new riding as he can leading up to the June 7 election.
He believes the people of this area will have a stronger voice now as part of the new Kiiwetinoong riding.
“I’m all about working together. I’m all about moving forward. It’s about the people,” he said.
“It is truly a great honour to be able to run in this election to bring a voice to the issues of all people of the Kiiwetinoong riding,” he added. “I bring a fresh perspective to Northern issues – it is a new riding, a new voice, and a new start.”
Mamakwa wished his fellow candidates well.
“Sol will be a fantastic candidate and a thoughtful, caring and dedicated representative at Queen’s Park,” said Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. “He knows the challenges that families face in the Kiiwetinoong riding, and I know he will work every day to bring change for the better to every Northern community and family he will represent.”
A press release issued earlier in the week stated Mamawka has the support of Chief Eddie Mamakwa of Kingfisher Lake, and Chief Donny Morris of Kitchneuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI).
“We are proud of the work that Sol has accomplished for health transformation throughout Kiiwetinoong,” said Chief Eddie Mamakwa. “I’ve known Sol for many years and I have every confidence that we can make this work. He comes from the area which has lots of opportunities, and through Sol, we can work to make these opportunities real.”
“I, along with my Council, are pleased to support the candidacy of Sol Mamakwa with the NDP for the forthcoming provincial election,” added Chief Donny Morris. “Sol Mamakwa lived the North, knows the North and is very much a part of the North. He will be an excellent representative for all of the North.”
Kiiwetinoong has a population of approximately 33,000 and covers over one-third of Ontario in the Far North.