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Bail reform among issues addressed at northern municipality meeting

Issues dominated the agenda Tuesday as mayors and councils from across northern Ontario got down to work in Parry Sound.

Tuesday was Day 2 of the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) conference. Police were invited to relay a message: bail reform is needed.

"Always interesting to see and hear the issues that are common in many of the communities,” said Timmins Police Chief Dan Foy.

“We're here to listen and to talk about some of the goals and objectives we have in order to enhance community safety."

Specifically, police have been calling for changes to Bill C-75 that governs bail.

They say repeat offenders have been causing problems in every community and a taskforce has been struck to get senior levels of government to act.

"I use an example where in Timmins we had someone who was out on several charges committing further offences,” Foy said.

“If we had bail reform, then the lens would be different in regards to releasing offenders."

Sault Ste. Mare Coun. Sandra Hollingsworth said it’s a big issue.

"It's a very important issue to the citizens of Sault Ste. Marie,” Hollingsworth said.

“I do receive phone calls and so does our police."

Homelessness and opioids were two more major issues that northern Ontario community leaders want to see tackled.

The audience also heard from Vic Fedeli in his role as Minister of Economic Development and Trade.

"Well I believe, I absolutely believe that critical minerals will be the new arms race because there is not enough ethically sourced nickel in the world," Fedeli said.

Timmins Coun. John Curley said these sorts of meetings can produce results.

"When we have ministers come and talk to an event like this and it's what we want to hear, they're proving the action because they're putting the dollars towards the north and it's been a long time coming," Curley said.

FONOM is already compiling statistics for its pitch to the federal government on bail reform.

The conference wraps Wednesday with an address from Ontario NDP Leader Marit Stiles. Top Stories

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