It is important for regions to be properly represented, to have the ability to change the policies that affect them. Ontario does not have a single, monolithic population, but is clearly separated by the Southern metropolis that stretches from Windsor through Ottawa, and a forgotten North forced to live under policies that cannot be properly applied across the large distances and small populations that endure. Regional-specific governance, by the people who live across this expanse, is necessary to develop The North into something more than just Southern Ontario’s warehouse.
Shawn GrayVoteNOP Website Manager
A Northerner by Birth, A Northerner by Choice
Gray was born in Thunder Bay and raised in Timmins. Two of the six main cities in Northern Ontario. Heavily involved with Scouts Canada in his youth, Gray was an active member in his community before leaving the North to pursue an education.
While in Ottawa, Gray earned a Bachelor degree in English Literature. He continued his education in North Bay at Nipissing University, where he pursued his Bachelor of Education. Once certified as a teacher, he returned to Timmins while pursuing opportunities to teach tomorrow’s youth. Unfortunately, with the declining population, teaching jobs were rare and he obtained a position in retail sales to make ends meet.
After a couple of years of sales, Gray accepted a promotion to a management position in Sudbury, where he met his wife. Gray kicked off National Novel Writing Month, actively increasing literary pursuits in the city. His organization of writing events returned him to Ottawa where he obtained a Graduate Certificate in Event Management from Algonquin College. He further enrolled for another round of education, seeking a Diploma in Business Administration. When his wife was offered a position in Victoria, BC, this diploma program was cut short.
Victoria was beautiful, but it was a very expensive journey, with no job prospects beyond minimum-wage tourism positions. With a young son born on Vancouver Island, providing stability and opportunities for his growing family was a priority. As a result, when a position opened up for his wife back in Sudbury, they returned to the North. Almost immediately upon return, Gray was able to obtain a professional position as an Administrative Assistant in health & dental benefits consulting.
With the continued imbalance between Northern Ontario and Southern Ontario immediately apparent, and with an election approaching, Gray sought a party that actually could represent the North. The Northern Ontario Party, although a little more conservative in some of its views, offered one that was close to Gray’s own. Gray joined up and immediately went to work developing this website in the hopes of using it for a Sudbury Riding Association, while making it useful for the general party while in limbo.
Northern Ontario is a very different place than Southern Ontario, and Gray does his best with the resources available to help improve the conditions around him while raising his sons.
Although not initially seeking an executive position, Gray found himself presented with an interim position that would assist in further improvements to the website and with membership communications.