The author of a petition to separate northern Ontario from southern Ontario is now the leader of the Northern Ontario political party. Last week, Trevor Holliday of Callander was named the leader of the party, which disbanded in 1985 and remained inactive until recently. Holliday registered the Northern Ontario Party with Elections Ontario in late July.

Holliday set up a petition to restart the conversation of separating Ontario into a north and south province at the beginning of this year and says getting involved in politics was never a thought. But, he says now it’s hit him and he’s running with it.

Holliday says while one of the issues he’ll address will be creating two separate provinces, the party wants to mainly focus on what northern Ontarians want changed. One of the big issues they’ll be focusing on is manufacturing policies, something Holliday says no party has done yet. He says they want to focus on ensuring what’s taken out of the ground is dealt with locally, instead of being shipped overseas just to be bought back at a premium.

Holliday says the goal of the party is to have all 11 northern Ontario ridings with a Northern Ontario Party candidate elected into the Ontario legislature in the next election. He says if all 11 represented by the party are elected, it will force the government to choose a Northern Development Minister from one of their members. He says it will also force the province to ask what is needed in the north.

The party’s president is Ed Dieble who founded the party back in 1977 and recently announced his retirement. More information on the Northern Ontario party is on their website.

(With files from: Jimmy King)