SOUTH LANCASTER, Ontario – Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry MPP Jim McDonell was in South Lancaster on Thursday, January 12 at the Legion Hall to hear the concerns of local residents about the provincial budget.
McDonell had organized meetings throughout his riding to get input from as many communities as possible.
The Financial Committee that makes recommendations to the Provincial government on the budget had chosen not to stop in the area this year. McDonell took it upon himself to get feedback from his constituents and submit it to the committee.
“The meetings have been fairly large so far,” McDonell said. “The concerns we’ve heard over and over again have been about the closing of local schools and the cost of power.”
The Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) is planning on closing a handful of schools in rural communities across SD&G. McDonell said that it is important to trace these closures back to the Wynne government.
“The school board is forced to meet their budget,” he said. “This is a process set out by the province. We need to send the message back that we blame them for the schools.”
One message that McDonell said he consistently had for his constituents was for them to help him by making an issue of their complaints. He said that when he protests the actions of the government in the house, it is more effective if he has a solid issue in the media to point to that has been raised by voters.
McDonell held meetings in Long Sault, Chesterville, Cornwall and other places throughout his riding.
He and his team have until the end of the month to submit their recommendations to the Financial Committee so that they are included in its final report.