SEGUIN TWP. – The MPP looking to create a northern committee that excludes the Parry Sound District is coming to Seguin.
NDP Timiskaming-Cochrane MPP John Vanthof’s proposed a Northern Committee at Queen’s Park that only includes ridings north of the French River. The committee hasn’t yet been officially formed and parliament is currently on summer brake.
In the spring, the Parry Sound District Municipal Association and area individual townships passed resolutions opposing the French River cutoff with fears that being omitted from the committee could lead to a cut in funding to the region, which faces similar social and economic issues as those that would be represented on the proposed committee.
At Seguin’s invitation, Vanthof agreed to a meeting with council in person at the regularly scheduled August 27 meeting to hear why the district is part of the north.
“It’s important to us to remain in the north,” said Seguin Mayor David Conn. “He’s not the first guy to try to cut us out of the north and we’ve defended it before.”
Seguin plans to make the most of the fact-to-face time with the MPP, who had initially defended the boundary in the face of the region’s resolutions opposing it.
“I think we need to get a hold of every municipality and say he’s coming and I think we need to do some background research so we can comprehensively convince Mr. Vanthof that we belong in the north,” said Conn.
He pointed to Muskoka, a district that lost provincial funding when Ontario stopped recognizing it as a northern district, but successfully defended itself when a member of Parliament tried to cut it out of the region represented by FedNor – the federal program that supports northern communities. The mayor asked staff to get a copy of the report Muskoka had done in its defense.
With every member of councils in the district invited, Seguin is prepared to move the meeting out of the council chamber to a larger room, said Conn.
The mayor added that Vanthof would get a heads up that other councils were invited to the meeting.