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Issues to follow in 2012

(January 9, 2012) There is little doubt that 2012 will be a challenging year.  The number of issues to follow in our riding will be plenty; so far the least known factor is the outcome of each concern.
In healthcare, we deserve our fair share of the $2.6 billion that is being spent this year on hospital capital projects.  Stevenson Memorial Hospital is making responsible plans to build a new hospital to address local needs to reflect population growth.  Collingwood General and Marine Hospital is out of space and has been waiting seven years for the government to approve its expansion application.  Both projects could likely be pushed into the planning stages for less than $6 million.  That’s a reasonable request.  The question is whether Dalton McGuinty cares enough to act now to prevent grim consequences for patients and their families down the road.

Last week, Dr. Patrick Moore, the co-founder of Greenpeace, told a gathering of farmers in Southwestern Ontario that the wind power industry is “a destroyer of wealth and negative to the economy.”  He went on to say that wind farms are “ridiculously expensive and don’t work half the time.”   This is in addition to the Auditor General’s stinging rebuke of Dalton McGuinty’s green energy experiment, where he catalogued failed engineering, inflated job numbers, sloppy oversight, wasted tax dollars and just plain dumb choices.   Now would be a good time to put a hold on green energy plans, like the Skyway 124 project in Clearview, until a new policy is created that ensures these industrial projects are only built in places where they are welcomed and wanted and at prices ratepayers can afford.

For the residents of Green Briar in Alliston, traffic lights were promised on July 28, 2011 for Highway 89 near the 10th Sideroad by the Ministry of Transportation.  After years of bugging the ministry about safety concerns in this area, the government finally conceded and said, “I am pleased to inform you that the warranting criteria have now been met, and the intersection has been placed on Central Region’s priority list for traffic signal installation.”  I’ll be watching the progress closely to make sure this promise is fulfilled.

On January 19th, the Minister of Infrastructure will be in Alliston to outline the government’s plans for growth in Simcoe County.  For some bizarre reason, the Liberals have singled out our area by unfairly micromanaging the issue from Queen’s Park, instead of relying on local councillors to make balanced and responsible decisions on growth in their communities.  Let’s hope the government has listened to Simcoe County councillors.

A curious case has been developing over the sighting of the equestrian events for the Pan Am Games.  Instead of choosing Thornbury’s state-of-the-art Cedar Run Horse Park in our riding, the games committee opted to hold the event in Palgrave on a lot adjacent to one owned by Ian Troop, who happens to be the brother of Alex Troop, president of the games committee.  Using that site will cost taxpayers $9 million more than it would cost to hold the event in Thornbury.  To add insult to injury, nobody from the games committee even bothered to come up and even pretend to give Cedar Run a fair shake.  I’ve been aiding the bid for over a year, and will continue to follow this closely.  Something smells fishy.

This is just a sample of issues in our area.  Provincially, there is a lot of work to be done to get the economy back on track and to create jobs.  I invite you to visit my website at www.jimwilsonmpp.com in the coming weeks to learn about some of the ideas put forward by the Ontario PC Caucus to turn Ontario around.    

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