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Elections Katherine Suutari

Katherine Suutari- Red River Candidate

1.Businesses are frequently the targets of crime and on the front line dealing with societal problems in the area; what steps do you think should be taken to ensure businesses are protected and our community is safer to explore, shop, work and play in. 

The above question is not a simple question to answer.  We have big issues in this city that the council hasn’t addressed in the past 10 years that I have lived here, crime has got worse.  The city has allowed criminals to walk freely without punishment, drugs are rampant, homelessness is on the rise and the pandemic has made small businesses fail or endure extreme hardships.  It all seems to be by design.  Now they want safe injection sites which will not make it better for anyone who lives here.  If you went to West Hastings Street in Vancouver where they have safe injection sites, you would see that it doesn’t work, there are still people shooting up on the street and needles left all over the place.


I would say that we need to punish the criminals, we need to have the police be able to do their jobs and not restrict them.  There are so many unlivable buildings especially in West Fort where people are living, inhumane conditions.  There are other buildings that should be condemned and torn down.  There are buildings that could be restored and made into housing with options to buy if the occupant stayed clean and willing to work.


The mentally challenged people should be in a facility if they are not taking their medication where they can be looked after and be provided with the basics of live including food, clothing, shelter, and medication.


When it comes to the small businesses, there are very few people who are willing to take a chance and open a small business.  The small businesses have suffered due to the pandemic as they were forced to close while Walmart, Superstore, etc. thrived and made money hand over fist.  Most people will not take that chance as there probably will be another lockdown in the future, I believe the World Economic Forum is asking countries to consider a climate lockdown which will obviously shut down the small businesses.  It seems as this is all by design and they don’t have a need for small businesses.


Small businesses will have to be a strong and collective voice within the community, not an organization representing small businesses but the small businesses themselves.  They need to stay open at any cost and they need to be able to fight for their small businesses and protect them, small businesses should not be punished for protecting their livelihoods. They should never comply with lockdowns because if they do they may not be open for very long.

  1. What is your impression of the Fort William Business community? What is one thing that is done well and what is one thing that needs to improve?

The Fort William Business community is non-existent.  I hardly ever shop in Fort William because there is nothing I need that I can’t get where I live in Port Arthur.  I know that Fort William is hit hard with businesses and crime, but we are also seeing it here in Port Arthur where businesses have to put up gates and fences because of the crime.  I believe crime is a priority for all residents of Thunder Bay.  Everyone wants to feel safe and protected within the community.  Parents want their children to be able to play in a safe and protected environment.  I can’t answer what is done well as I don’t see much of Fort William to answer that question. Because I don’t drive, I am not able to venture out to Fort William too much either as I rely on transit.

  1. With the revitalization of downtown Fort William project underway there is no planned community center for the area after the project is completed. Victoriaville provided an important and safe gathering place. What   vision do you have to recreate a similar environment for community connectivity? 

I am very disappointed that they are tearing down Victoriaville, when they could have kept up with the repairs on an annual basis and then there would have been no need to tear it down.  But one thing that showed the residents of Thunder Bay is that someone’s legacy is no longer required, so we don’t need city councillors begging to have a legacy built.  The cost to build Victoriaville and the cost to tear it down is an expensive lesson we all see for legacy projects. 


I don’t think I can answer the question to your satisfaction. The issues that we have are attributed to previous city councillors over many years that contributed to Fort William being in the predicament it is in.  Now we are left with a city that has little money and cutting budgets from EMS which is a vital service for all residents of Thunder Bay.  All I can say is we need to work on prior problems that seem to grow daily with ALL RESIDENTS OF THUNDER BAY.  We need to have the residents be part of the process, not organizations thinking they know what the residents want.  I would ask the residents in my riding what we could do to accomplish things that will work for all residents.  I would like to see Fort William residents and Port Arthur residents come together to work on solutions to all problems within the City of Thunder Bay.  I believe that the previous city councillors have made the decisions with no input from the people who have elected them and pay their wages through our taxes.  The people need to be the voice.

Katherine Suutari

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