EDITOR - TODD LIHOU: The disconnect between Ottawa and Cornwall is costing us

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Take a gaze around your neighbourhood – chances are it won't look the same in another 10 or 15 years.

We're not talking about urban renewal or suburban beautification projects.

Instead the Cornwall area finds itself in the cross hairs of the Emerald Ash Borer, a pesky little insect that will ultimately kill every ash tree in Cornwall and area by 2029.

The details discussed earlier this week at city hall are sobering to say the least. It could cost nearly $6 million over the next 15 years to combat the problem – and we're still looking at losing the majority of our trees even if things like pesticides are employed.

Infected trees could be in danger of toppling over in as little as a few years – so those trees in your backyard that look so beautiful right now could come crashing through your roof in the not-so-distant future.

The Emerald Ash Borer lays its eggs just under the bark, and feeding larvae quickly overwhelm the tree, leading to death.

The insect is just the latest in a long line of invasive species that are not native to North America and are crippling a portion of our eco-system.

The same could be said of the round goby, a bottom-dwelling fish that made its way to North America in the ballast holds of ships coming from Europe.

The little fish has set up shop in the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes – stripping the waterways of food that native fish like Perch depend on.

Most anglers that catch gobies kill them immediately, with the blessing of the Ministry of Natural Resources which wants to control the population.

The Emerald Ash Borer, it is believed, entered North America in a similar fashion to the goby. It bored itself into the wood pallets aboard cargo ships and is spreading across this continent like a wild fire.

Now that it is here, your federal government has snapped into action – by doing nothing to help municipalities like Cornwall grapple with the problem.

The millions that are to be spent on the problem will come from the wallets of municipal taxpayers because the federal government has basically washed its hands of the issue.

City councillors Monday night lamented the fact that Ottawa governs international trade, yet has turned a blind eye to a concern that was created when overseas shipping brought the little buggers into Canada.

It's a familiar rant. The federal government, save for a few photo ops early on, has been all but absent on the chemical tank controversy in Cornwall.

Where is the representation we sorely need when it comes to problems in our backyard? Everyone is asking – but the chirping of crickets has been the only answer.

MP Guy Lauzon has been feeling the heat on the tank issue. I feel bad for him on one hand, because as has been mentioned in the past, it's common for federal agencies to do things in ridings across the country and not alert the sitting MP.

But when I point that out, critics have been quick to counter with an interesting fact: Lauzon is the chair of the National Conservative Caucus, which means he has a direct line to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Critics take it a step further and suggest that close relationship should be exploited to our benefit in Cornwall and area.

Is it Lauzon's fault our ash trees will die and chemical tanks are being built on the waterfront?

No, of course not.

But the lack of accountability from the federal government when the issues listed in this space, and a host of others, come to light should at the very least concern you – if not make you angry.

The perception is that decisions in Ottawa are being made in a room with no windows. Policymakers can't be bothered to see how their plans are affecting the people who live in communities like Cornwall, because there is a disconnect between them and us.

The solution is simple: try listening.

Organizations: The Emerald Ash Borer, Ministry of Natural Resources, National Conservative Caucus

Geographic location: Cornwall, Ottawa, North America St. Lawrence River Great Lakes Cornwall.Where

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