Sol Mamakwa opens constituency office in Sioux Lookout
Tim Brody - EditorFor many MPPs in Ontario, visiting their constituents can be as easy as taking a short stroll, or perhaps, a short drive.
For Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa, visiting his constituents often involves a flight of an hour or more, or, if he’s not in Sioux Lookout where he resides, a drive of several hours.
On April 26, Mamakwa celebrated the opening of his Sioux Lookout constituency office with cake and a ribbon cutting. The opening celebration also included a blessing and smudging ceremony performed by Elders Tom Chisel and Roy Morris.
“Certainly I think for Tom and Roy to be involved in my journey as an MPP, they were there when I first became an official candidate for the NDP to run in this new riding. For them to be here again to do the blessing of my office… it’s very humbling, and an honour to have them here,” Mamakwa said.
Having been born in Sioux Lookout, gone to school here and residing here, Mamakwa said it was important to him to open a constituency office in Sioux Lookout. “Sioux Lookout is certainly the ‘Hub of The North’”, he said, adding, “It’s really good to get things going and have a presence in Sioux Lookout.”
“Hopefully in the near future we can open some other offices because this is the largest riding in Ontario,” he said, adding he is looking at establishing a part-time office in Red Lake as well.
“I think in the summertime, I’m not sure how I’m going to do it, in Ontario there has never been a constituency office on reserve and I think I want to try and see how I can do that.”
He shared, “I think summer is going to be pretty busy… I’m looking forward to being in the communities and hearing the issues and the challenges and barriers as well as the good things that are happening in our riding.”
The remoteness of many of the communities he serves makes it hard for Mamakwa to visit in person; however he said technology has helped him immensely when it comes to representing the riding.
Many of his colleagues have taken an interest in the riding and the ways it differs from their own.
“I know that a lot of my colleagues on the NDP side have reached out to me and said, ‘we want to come to your riding to have an idea of what the communities are like.’ I’ve had colleagues from the government side that said, ‘I would like to visit your riding, how can we do this?’ At the same time they’ve invited me to their ridings.”
“To understand things, sometimes you have to see them with your own eyes and hear the stories of our people and the issues and challenges as well as the successes,” he concluded.
Mamakwa’s Sioux Lookout office is located at 73 King Street, Unit 104 and is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The office can be reached at 807-737-2210, or by email at [email protected]