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AMO sets the stage for coming

municipal election

By MPP Toby Barrett

Last week’s annual conference of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario gave me an opportunity to sit down with elected officials from Pickle Lake to Pelee Island and points in between.

As in Haldimand and Norfolk, challenges range from money and red tape, to ensuring an improved municipal provincial relationship.

One of the biggest challenges is the cost of first responders. The number one complaint I heard from the municipal councillors at AMO was the unsustainable cost of policing.

Municipal Affairs Critic, MPP Ernie Hardeman explained in his keynote: “People need to know when they dial 911 someone will be there to help them, and they’ll be there quickly.” But when some municipalities are spending half their budget on emergency services it is difficult to deliver everything else constituents need.

Government has announced the third version of its police funding formula. On average, each household will pay $355. But councillors still can’t tell ratepayers how much policing will cost them. What we do know, across the province, some municipalities will win, and 207 local governments will pay more.

Over the past few years, municipalities have seen their insurance rates spiral because too often they are viewed as having the ability to pay large damages – even when their level of responsibility is found to be almost nothing.

Opposition MPP Randy Pettapiece introduced a motion calling for the government to reform joint and several liability by June 2014. At every AMO conference the government has promised to take action on this problem. Now they have announced they are not taking any action at all.

As you will hear many times over, the provincial government is running up a $12.5 billion deficit. That means there is less money available for the municipal level.

But municipalities are struggling with significant new infrastructure costs due to the sudden cancellation of the Connection Links program that funded about 350 kilometres of road and 70 bridges. We know when programs like that are cancelled suddenly it makes it even more of a burden because there’s no time to budget or build reserves for those infrastructure costs.

Government has also been cutting the grants through the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF). MPP Hardeman used the example of a town in his riding – Ingersoll - where the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund grants have been cut by more than 50 per cent or $690,000. In the meantime, their savings from uploads have only been $18,000.

Fairness means ensuring that if people are paying a tax, that they are getting the benefit from it.

People in every single municipality in Ontario pay the provincial gas tax. In fact, in rural and Northern communities driving isn’t a luxury – it’s the only way to get around. And although everyone pays, communities like Haldimand County never benefit or get a return for their dollar. It goes only to communities that have transit. That simply isn’t fair. The gas tax should help with infrastructure costs in all communities.

It was plain to see municipalities across Ontario now know better what is not coming down the pipe as the senior level of government is going broke. This is a reality worthy of debate as we run up to the municipal vote on October 27th.

Share your views with me at toby.barrett@pc.ola.org

Newsroom

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SIMCOE – Statistics Canada’s July jobs report shows Ontario lost 29,300 full time jobs last month.

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Hydro customers heavily subsidizing energy pensions

SIMCOE – Every day taxpayers are finding it increasingly difficult to save and invest, largely because they are paying for unaffordable energy costs and bloated energy agency pensions.

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New tax driving Ontario airline tickets sky high

QUEEN’S PARK –Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett believes the government’s new aviation tax could have a direct impact on the riding.

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New tax driving Ontario airline tickets sky high

QUEEN’S PARK –Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett believes the government’s new aviation tax could have a direct impact on the riding.

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Carr lauded in Ontario Legislature

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett paid tribute to Annaleise Carr’s Radical Crossing 2.0 in the Ontario Legislature earlier today.

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Barrett echoes concerns about hunting and fishing license money

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP wants to see more accountability from the Ministry of Natural Resources Special Purpose Account (SPA), especially in light of proposals to increase fees.

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Barrett renews call for gutting Asian carp imported into Ontario
QUEEN’S PARK – During Question Period, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett renewed his call for the province to require Asian carp entering Ontario first be gutted.

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Budget leading Ontario down an expensive garden path

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett believes the Ontario budget is not only leading the province down the wrong path, it’s taking it down the garden path.

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Barrett appointed Opposition Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Critic

QUEEN'S PARK - Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has been appointed as the PC Opposition’s Critic for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

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Premier’s promise has a $30.2 billion discrepancy

Queen’s Park – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett took time during Question Period today to remind Premier Wynne that in 2012 she committed to eliminate Ontario’s deficit by fiscal year 2017-18.

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Ontario credit rating outlook downgraded

QUEEN’S PARK – Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded Ontario’s credit rating outlook to negative.

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Legislature reconvenes July 2

SIMCOE – The Ontario Legislature resumes on July 2.

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Back to work at Queen’s Park in July – Barrett

Simcoe – Fresh off the campaign trail, MPPs are being called back to Queen’s Park on July 2nd.

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Lack of full-time Ag Minister reflected in less than adequate budget

SIMCOE – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is questioning how farmers are benefiting from a part-time Agriculture Minister given the low profile of farming and rural Ontario in the May 1 budget.

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Local MPP looking for input on Not-For-Profit legislation
Queen’s Park – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett wants input from local not-for-profit organizations regarding the government’s Bill 85 titled, Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA).

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Barrett reiterates need for Hagersville bypass

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett renewed the call for a truck bypass in Hagersville during debate in the Ontario Legislature today.

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Why hasn’t Wynne proclaimed Local Food Act?

SIMCOE – Toby Barrett, Haldimand-Nofolk MPP, is questioning why the Local Food Act hasn’t been proclaimed even though it was passed six months ago. The act would increase local food in the broader public sector.

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Deadlines approaching for big game draws

HAGERSVILLE – Draw dates for big game entry draws are approaching.

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Electricity prices going up – again!

SIMCOE – May Day will be more of a distress call than a celebration this year as Ontario residents already struggling with skyrocketing electricity prices will start paying even more.

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Ontario an economic drain on Canada: study

SIMCOE – A recently-released independent study has found Ontario’s lagging economy is dragging down the rest of the country.

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Invasive species bill requires extensive consultation: Barrett

Queen’s Park – During an Ontario Legislature speech on the Invasive Species Act – Bill 167 - Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett reminded homeowners that not all invasive species are aquatic.

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Pull over for flashing green lights

QUEEN’S PARK – April 10 marked the 20th anniversary of the passage of legislation that provided volunteer firefighters the right to use flashing green lights when responding to a fire call.

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College of Trades one year old

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett joined the spirit of thousands of
apprentices across the province who noted the first anniversary of paying new fees to the
Ontario College of Trades with frustration and grief.

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Ontario’s long-term economy forecast is dismal: Barrett

QUEEN'S PARK – Ontario’s Long-Term Report on the Economy is additional proof the
McGuinty-Wynne government has no plan to create jobs or balance the budget, Haldimand-
Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has charged.

[Read More]