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2014-06-10 at 22:21

Last one

By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
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THUNDER BAY -- Bill Mauro says rural municipalities are better off than they were a decade ago thanks to his party but Harold Wilson thinks a lot of the Liberal government's policies would have happened no matter who was in power.

The Liberal incumbent stood on his record as the Liberal MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan during a Lakehead Rural Municipal Committee debate at the Kakabeka Legion Tuesday night, the last chance for candidates to square off before Thursday's provincial election.

From the Liberal's 2011 farm management program to the $100 million infrastructure program for rural and Northern municipalities announced in the latest budget, Mauro said the six towns in the committee are much better off than they were in 2004. He listed hundreds of thousands of dollars that Conmee, Gillies, O'Connor, Neebing, Oliver Paipoonge and Shuniah get every year.

"I just thought it was important that I put that out there in totality," Mauro said in his opening statement to around 50 people.

But Progressive Conservative candidate Harold Wilson said a lot of the times programs are designed no matter what government is in power.

"It's the nature of government," he said.

As for the rural infrastructure fund, Wilson said people need to take a closer look at who is eligible.

"It was the whole province that was seen as rural,” he said when candidates were asked to define a small, rural municipality.

Mauro said before the Liberals, rural communities were struggling to even fund engineering studies for infrastructure because it was so unclear whether provincial funding would come through.

"Many of them wouldn't even apply," he said.

Green Party candidate John Northey said the problem is that there is no clear definition  of what a rural municipality is.

"Yet we hear of programs for them," he said.

The province needs to keep urban sprawl to a minimum as rural areas everywhere are at risk of being amalgamated into cities.

"You'd like your villages your towns to stay themselves,” Northey said.

The committee is asking to form its own district social services administration board as the six communities estimate they're currently paying $2.1 million more every year in services than they're getting back as part of Thunder Bay's.

Mauro said he understands the issue but the problem is on of regulations. If this committee is allowed to form its own board, soon other areas in the province will do the same. The model is still relatively new and will evolve.

"But I believe it's a legitimate cause," he said.

Wilson said $2.1 million is a huge discrepancy and isn't a new issue. He took a shot at Mauro for saying he's been meeting with mayors in the area to work on a solution.

“Having a meeting is different than actually listening,” Wilson said.

The committee is also asked about policing as a proposed new model could increase Ontario Provincial Police costs to rural areas by as much as 20 per cent.

Wilson said the problem is that there is no flexibility in policing standards for different regions. Rural municipalities need to be a part of the decision making process when it comes to policing in the province.

"It's really about your ability to pay,” he said.

Mauro said that municipalities asked the province to come up with a solution, adding the current proposal is not a done deal, because some communities pay as little as $90 per person for policing while others are charged up to $900. The Liberals are trying to find a system that's fair for everyone involved.

“There's a huge disparity,“ he said.

NDP candidate Mary Kozorys couldn't attend the debate due to a death in the family.

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Comments

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captain says:
I had assumed that Ms. Kozyros would provide the silliest remark but it seems the title must go to Mr. Wilson. In rebutting the assertion by Mr. Mauro that the gov't has brought a great deal of financial support, Mr. Wilson suggests that these programs would have happened anyway.

I respectfully disagree.

That is why you elect a specific gov't, for specific programs. You are going to cut if elected Mr. Wilson, the Liberals will not. it is a different approach. Supporting small towns was not something Mike Harris did. It is something the Liberals did.

I understand that Mr. Wilson needs to say something but this was rather lame.

As for the NDP candidate. I am sorry there was a death in the family but this was a debate for an office she is seeking. The unfortunate passing happened on Saturday. There was no funeral and Mary dragged herself to the CBC debate on Monday and this was Tuesday night.

This is the 2nd or 3rd debate she has missed. Mr. Hudak didn't come. Yet they want our vote
6/11/2014 12:30:10 PM
yqtyqt says:
Thanks that this is the last one. I'm waist deep in unfunded promises. For a campaign that that was she declared would be fair & positive, Premier Wynne has slung a lot of mud and started every statement of with blah, blah, blah Hudak / Horwath. If you've ever wondered what all those well paid civil servants do with their money, look at all the cash that's being spent by their respective Unions. These same people who claim to be underappreciated, underpaid and who worry about their future long term spot at the public money trough, have spent the lights out making sure their even more highly paid union leaders grease their way to another liberal victory. In return Wynne will give them unimpeded access to the provincial treasury.

The only thing that Wynne hasn't said in her election campaign is how she will get Ont's dismal debt under control & how many civil servants will be cut. If you read the OPSIEU head Thomas' comments, even he knows that about 60,000 govt employees will be gone.
6/11/2014 1:42:07 PM
countrymark says:
@captain - Who are you to judge if someone is able to attend a debate after losing someone? Regardless if they are running for office or not, if you lose someone, you're entitled to time off to grieve, so why can't she? How do you know she did not have a family gathering to help them grieve? Just focus on the article. It's a shame she could not attend, but life happens. Please show a little more respect to another human being.
6/11/2014 4:40:43 PM
WasabiMan says:
Need a fiscally responsible government to clean up the McGuinty mess. A Horvath government would only add to this mess..your answer is the Hudak. Vote for Harold Wilson today!
6/12/2014 10:33:53 AM
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