Time to consider questions for candidates

With just weeks to go until our Federal election, a few thoughts about topics and questions we should be putting to all our local federal candidates.

For example, many of our PEC organizations (e.g. Picton Rotary) will be organizing all-candidates meetings and County residents will have multiple opportunities to ask questions –¬† not to mention interacting with door-to-door canvassers.

Importantly, and given what appears like a tendency for the province to off-load more costs onto municipalities, there is an opportunity in this federal election to ask all federal political parties to commit to making ground-breaking progress for Canadians living in rural communities like ours.

And we should not be shy about doing so… rural municipalities like The County are essential to Canada’s economy and quality of life.

From resources to manufacturing to tourism to agriculture, our entrepreneurship and businesses drive a third or more of Canada’s national economy.

But continuing to do so requires modern tools that better recognize rural realities, expertise, and potential.

Some question/topic suggestions are… we need better internet connectivity, we need a bigger and more reliable piece of the Federal Gas Tax Fund transfer, we need a federal government focused on broadband investments that support economic growth and a modern quality of life for rural residents, we need a federal government that will actually work with rural leadership to promote economic development, we need infrastructure investment, and we need a recognition that rural communities, like Prince Edward County, have a place in designing national initiatives like affordable housing and disaster mitigation, e.g. this year’s serious flooding.

Of course there are many other important PEC and rural priorities… not just these.

So whatever we query our federal candidates on, let’s drive home the key point that from geography to climate to demographics, rural communities like The County face unique challenges that can’t be solved with cookie-cutter approaches. We need a meaningful rural lens in Ottawa… and if we don’t ask, chances are we won’t get.

Sincerely,

Bill Roberts

Councillor

Sophiasburgh (Ward 6)