The Nickel Belt provincial Liberal candidate’s characterization of incumbent MPP France Gélinas as being too busy “focus(sing) on tanning beds, menus and bubble gum flavoured chewing tobacco” to adequately represent the concerns of her local riding is without merit.
Having worked in the Ministry of Health for years, Tregonning should be well aware of the prevalence of cancer and cardiovascular diseases in our community, and of the immense harm they cause.
He should also be aware that obesity and smoking — two major risk factors in the development of both of these diseases — are particularly problematic in northern communities.
Furthermore, candy-flavoured tobacco products and tanning beds are a concern for our youth, who, being in their formative years, may go on to form lifelong habits which put them at risk of these terrible diseases.
As such, his attempt to portray Gélinas’ efforts on the aforementioned issues as being out-of-touch and irrelevant to our community appears to be nothing more than an effort to score political points.
His comment is reprehensible not only because it is empty and self-serving, but because it trivializes the issues in question, which ought to be considered according to their importance and complexity.
As the NDP health critic, it falls on Gélinas to consider such issues, both for the well-being of her riding and of the province as a whole.
Tregonning notes (in his full press release) a growing sentiment among citizens of not being heard in Queen’s Park.
The cause of this, however, may be a little closer to home than he’d like to admit: I suspect that after 11 years in power and having been reelected three times despite numerous scandals, the reigning Liberals may have grown somewhat deaf and indifferent to the people they ought to be serving.