Strong rural communities are the key to a strong, healthy province. These words are posted on the website of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and they are true today as they have been throughout our history.
I am very concerned, however, about some of the McGuinty government’s policies that have been especially harmful to rural Ontario . As someone who cares about our communities and the response to industrial wind turbines in our province, you know firsthand about a government that too often ignores our concerns.
Our economies in rural and small-town Ontario are coping with severe challenges, many of which are the result of provincial policy decisions. But I am just as concerned when our province is divided, rural against urban or simply neighbour against neighbour. Provincial policies on energy, among other issues, are dividing our communities as never before.
In conversations with constituents, it is apparent that the rural-urban divide is real. A growing divide is, I believe, harmful to our province as a whole, and cause for concern no matter what our political stripe. That is why I introduced a motion in the Ontario legislature that reads as follows:
That, in the opinion of this House, the government should re-evaluate policies that negatively affect residents of rural and small-town Ontario and are a source of growing frustration in rural communities, which are key to a strong, healthy province.
My motion represents an opportunity for all MPPs to discuss the rural-urban divide and some of the provincial policies that may be contributing to it. I am writing to ask for your feedback on my motion and I look forward to hearing your comments. I would certainly welcome your written expression of support for my motion before September 6.
Thank you for your consideration.
Randy Pettapiece, MPP