Northern Economist 2.0

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Thunder Bay's Crisis: Time to Move Forward

Thunder Bay often feels neglected by decision makers in Toronto as well as the national media.  Indeed, it has sometimes been expressed that for Thunder Bay, bad publicity is better than no publicity at all as it draws attention to its needs. I disagree and am more disposed to the adage that no news is good news.  Thunder Bay has been making the national media all too often over the last few months and the attention is not favorable.  One really has to wonder why community leaders in Thunder Bay have not been expressing more concern about the issues spanning indigenous relations, institutional problems and social issues given the waves of negative attention.

One only has to take a look at the Toronto Star to see the spotlight that has been focused on Thunder Bay.  Indeed, many issues appear to be getting more attention in Toronto and the national press than in Thunder Bay itself.  The ultimate economic spillover on our community in terms of its potential as a good place to invest and do business is in serious danger.   This is not good for the community and if you think I am exaggerating the potential negative long-term impact that this could have on the city's image and ultimately its economy, take a look at the list of stories that have appeared in the Toronto Star since early May.  If you were an investor planning to open a business in Thunder Bay, a tourist thinking of visiting or a student planning to attend the university or college, how would you react to the following list of stories that mention Thunder Bay - just from the Toronto Star?

May 9, 2017 Fourth indigenous girl dies while in child protection

May 12, 2017 Tammy Keeash's death 'consistent with drowning' according to post mortem

May 17, 2017 First Nation’s family rejects Thunder Bay Police explanation for teen’s death 

May 19, 2017 Thunder Bay police investigate after body found in McIntyre River  

May 20, 2017 Ontario watchdog expands probe of Thunder Bay police 

May 21, 2017 Thunder Bay review of police practices with Indigenous people to include two recent cases 

May 23, 2017 Thunder Bay police chief charged with breach of trust

May 24, 2017 Thunder Bay police chief’s charges tied to issue with the city’s mayor    

May 29, 2017 The case for abolishing solitary confinement 

May 31, 2017 Indigenous leaders call for RCMP to investigate deaths of young people in Thunder Bay 

May 31, 2017 First Nations leaders call for RCMP to take over Thunder Bay teen death cases 

June 5, 2017 Thunder Bay police need outside help to solve deaths of Indigenous youth: Editorial  

June 6, 2017 Chiefs demand answers on Thunder Bay river deaths 

June 7, 2017 OPP agreed to Thunder Bay police request to review man’s death, commissioner says

June 8, 2017 Not ‘necessary’ for RCMP to review 3 Indigenous deaths, Thunder Bay police say
June 14, 2017 Province shuts down three Thunder Bay foster homes

June 14, 2017 RCMP should investigate deaths of Indigenous teens in Thunder Bay: MP

June 23, 2017 York Regional Police now investigating Thunder Bay Indigenous teen deaths

July 3, 2017 Thunder Bay police investigating double homicide of 2 Indigenous people