{\rtf1\ansi\ansicpg1252\cocoartf1038\cocoasubrtf320 {\fonttbl\f0\fnil\fcharset0 Monaco;} {\colortbl;\red255\green255\blue255;} \margl1440\margr1440\vieww16540\viewh9400\viewkind0 \pard\tx560\tx1120\tx1680\tx2240\tx2800\tx3360\tx3920\tx4480\tx5040\tx5600\tx6160\tx6720\ql\qnatural\pardirnatural \f0\fs20 \cf0 \ \ \ \ Northwest Update\ \ \ \
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\ \ \ \ Northwest Update\ \ \ \

\ \ \ July 2010\ \ \

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\ \ \ A monthly Thunder Bay-Superior North eNewsletter brought to you by Bruce Hyer, MP. \ Featuring updates on federal activites effecting you and Northwestern Ontario.
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\ \ \ Click here to join us on Facebook\ \
\ \ \ \ \ \ .
Cell Phone Freedom\ \ \
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\ \ One of the symbols of modern life is the cell phone, and for good reason.

\ \ More and more people rely on them for business and to connect with family and friends. You don\'92t have to be a chatty teenager to understand that they have become an indispensable part of our economy and society, or to grasp how much freedom they can bestow.

\ \ So why is it that we, in Canada, have allowed such unprecedented restrictions on our use of cell phones?\ Read more...\

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\ \ \ \ \ Get Involved\ \ \ \

\ \ Are you a motivated, creative learner interested in any of the following?\

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  • Coordinating events\
  • Documentary films\
  • Conservation\
  • Social Activism\
  • Graphic design\
  • Photography\
  • Video editing\
  • Food Security\
\ Contact Shannon at 345-1818 to volunteer!\

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\ \ \ \ \ Serving You\ \ \ \

\ \ As your Member of Parliament, Bruce and his team are working hard to serve the people of \ Thunder Bay-Superior North and ensure you have a strong voice in Ottawa.\ \ His local office team is available to help residents resolve issues in areas like:\

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  • E.I.\
  • Canada Pensions\
  • Citizenship & Immigration\
  • Federal Funding Programs\
  • Income Tax disputes\
  • Canada Student Loans\
  • Passports \
  • Disability Tax Credit\
  • Indian & Northern Affairs\
  • and many more...\
\ Staff support community initiatives and arrange special messages for occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries. \ Contact them at 345-1818 or find out more about their many services.\ \ \

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Concerned About Health Care?\ \
Public meetings on health care with special guest, Megan Leslie, MP (Halifax)

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Health expert Megan Leslie, MP to host Heath Care meetings with Bruce Hyer, MP in Thunder Bay

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\ \ \ Soaring prescription drug costs, an aging population, difficulty in attracting & retaining skilled health professionals, and the unique health delivery situation in rural and northern communities are all challenges that effect health care in the Northwest. What needs to be done to improve health care delivery for seniors? How can ballooning costs be managed without sacrificing critical care?

\ \ These and other health system concerns will be addressed at public meetings on health care, hosted by Bruce Hyer, MP and special guest, New Democrat Health Care Critic Megan Leslie, MP.

\ \ The events are open to the public:

\ \ Seniors' Health Care Public Forum
\ With Bruce Hyer, MP & New Democrat Health Care Critic Meagan Leslie, MP
\ 9:30 - 11am on Tuesday, July 27
\ 55 Plus Centre - 700 River Street, Thunder Bay
\ Facebook: Seniors' Health Care Public Forum

\ \ Aboriginal Health Care Public Round Table
\ With Bruce Hyer, MP, New Democrat Health Care Critic Meagan Leslie, MP, & Guests
\ 3:30 - 4:30pm on Tuesday, July 27
\ Anishnabe Mushkiki - 29 Royston Court, Thunder Bay
\ Facebook: Aboriginal Health Care Round Table

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\ \ \ Hyer Introduces Cell Phone Freedom Act\
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Bill boosts competition & consumer choice\ \

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National media attention included CBC TV's Lang & O'Leary Exchange

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\ \ Parliament needs to end repressive cellular phone network locks in order to promote consumer choice and to encourage much-needed competition in Canada's cell phone market. That's the reason behind Bruce Hyer's introduction of the Cell Phone Freedom Act just before Parliament's summer recess to ban "network locks" or "SIM locks" on new mobile phones sold outside of contract.

\ \ "Mobile phone customers should have the freedom to choose whether they want to be locked into a company's cell network or not." Hyer said in Parliament. "Right now, most consumers don't even know they can't switch to another network without throwing out their phone and buying a new one, or trying to unlock their handset at some expensive aftermarket shop. Many resort to trying to download complicated instructions off the internet, but these can result in dead phones if used improperly."

\ \ "When a consumer's contract ends, they have in effect paid for their handset," said Consumer Protection critic Glenn Thibeault, MP (Sudbury). "Once the contract is over, the consumer's old service provider shouldn't be able to dictate which service provider is used next. The handset belongs to the consumer and as does the choice of service network."

\ \ Because of an effective lack of competition in the Canadian marketplace, big wireless providers are not motivated to unlock phones, unlike carriers in most other countries.

\ \ "When we buy or lease a car, we would never tolerate the car company dictating that we can only fill up at a certain gas station. Why should the big phone companies get a free pass on similar behaviour? It's well-nigh anticompetitive." added Hyer.

\ \ The Cell Phone Freedom Act encourages competition and consumer choice by requiring that:
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  • Consumers buying new cell phones in Canada must be informed of the existence of any network lock on their phone before sale;
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  • Phone companies must unlock handsets upon request, without charge, when a consumer purchases a new phone outright (unsubsidized) without a contract;
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  • Handsets must be unlocked upon request, without charge, when a consumer comes to the end of their contract or at any time thereafter;
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\ \ Hyer said "This legislation will ensure consumers have freedom. Restrictive cell phone locks should no longer be used as a tool to restrict consumers from moving to more competitive providers and to artificially restrict competition."

\ \ Find out more at: www.DontLockMyFreedom.ca
\ Facebook: Cell Phone Freedom Group\
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\ \ \ Staying in Touch With Labour\
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Labour breakfast highlights local issues\ \

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Bruce Hyer at the June Labour Breakfast

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\ \ \ At a special meeting organized recently with local labour, Bruce met with more than a dozen union leaders from around the riding. A wide range of trades and workplaces were represented, with a wide range of needs and concerns.

\ \ By job, the group included grain handlers, pulp mill workers, teachers, federal government employees, and steelworkers from Bombardier. Unions included the United Steelworkers, the Communication, Energy and Paper Workers (CEP), the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF). The group was rounded off by representatives from the Injured Workers Group and the Labour Council itself.

\ \ The focus was on changes that would improve the lives and work of local workers. Just some of the issues that were brought to the table included:

\ \ Trade and business policies - encouraging the use of the seaway, increasing the competitiveness of the port, and grain transport bypassing Thunder Bay by rail.

\ \ Employment creation - procurement policy, employment for older and experienced workers, impacts of free trade agreements on employment.

\ \ Job and financial security - pension protection and company bankruptcies, the CPP and seniors\'ed security, compensation for injured workers & their families, incentives to hire workers with disabilities, EI increases.

\ \ Local labour leaders at the meeting made it clear that there is much to work on, and regular meetings will be held to make sure issues are addressed and labour has a strong voice in Ottawa. \
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\ \ \ Andrea Horwath Visits Thunder Bay\
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HST, forestry, youth discussed\ \

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Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath with student intern Marty Johnson

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\ \ \ On July 9th, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath came to Thunder Bay to discuss the impact of the HST and meet with local community leaders. We were lucky to have Andrea visit Bruce's Constituency office, where she was interviewed on the HST, forestry and the problem of youth voting by our summer intern, Marty Johnson.

\ \ MJ: Andrea, I know you have been traveling the Province this summer discussing the impact of the HST with residents and businesses. How does the HST impact Northern Ontarians as compared to those living in the south?

\ \ AH: The simple fact is that the HST is making life less affordable for the people of Ontario. The cost of home heating has increased 8%, as has the cost of gas. Now, this is true for everyone in Ontario but as you might expect, Northern Ontario tends to have longer and colder winters and Northern Ontario residents also rely on their vehicles more because of the lack of mass public transit and longer distances to travel. In Southern Ontario people just have more options. The bottom line is that, in the end, Northern Ontario residents are paying more for the basics, and I don't think that's right.

\ \ MJ: There has been a lot of talk about the forestry industry in northern Ontario. Will the HST have any significant impact on this industry?

\ \ AH: The HST will mostly hurt small businesses and families - and that affects our whole economy. The Conference Board of Canada estimates that Ontario\'eds consumer confidence is down nearly 20 per cent since 2007. A new tax doesn't make Ontario families feel any better about making new purchases.

\ \ Tax credits and corporate tax cuts won't provide much help for northern industry like mining and forestry. The costs that are hurting that sector are sky-high hydro rates. A new tax on gasoline and electricity won't help.

\ \ MJ: Do you feel that the forest industry has been neglected, and what has to be done?

\ \ AH: Currently, it is the hydroelectricity rates that make the forestry sector unviable. As of right now [governments] have done nothing, which has led to approximately 40,000 jobs lost over 5 years in the region. Every time a community loses its mill, the community and its local economy are devastated.

\ \ We need to look at programs like one Norway created, called the Wood Chain Project. This program was designed to diversify their forestry sector. What it does is it tracks where the lumber is being sent and what it is being used for. This allows companies to see how efficiently the wood is being used to maximize profits while minimizing costs. Norway also focused on value-added jobs which Northern Ontario currently lacks. From cutting down the tree, to the point at which it becomes a marketable product, there are a number of steps. The industry in Northern Ontario doesn't engage in the full cycle of lumber processing. This means the wood has to be shipped somewhere else before its ready to hit the stores as a product. Not only does this result in a loss of jobs, but also higher costs.

\ \ MJ: Finally, I'd like to ask a question about youth participation in the political process. As a young person myself, I feel its really important to get more youth engaged in politics. What do you think needs to be done to combat youth apathy in the political process?

\ \ AH: Yes, there certainly is a lack of voter turnout among young people in Ontario. However, I was recently talking to Mike Snoddon, current president of the Lakehead University Student Union and he told me that the students are, in fact, motivated and willing to become involved but politicians have to a better job exciting them. Politicians like myself need to focus more on issues that are important to young people. We need to engage directly with them in conversation and political parties need to be more accessible to the youth demographic. I've actually been Tweeting for awhile now. It's a great way to let people know what's going on, and it seems to be a good way of communicating with youth across the province. \
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©\ 2010 Bruce Hyer, MP. All Rights Reserved.\ \ \

\ \ \ 69 North Court Street, Thunder Bay, Ontario P7A 4T7
\ Phone toll-free: 1-888-266-8004
\ Fax: 807-345-4752\
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