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Grey-Bruce-Owen Sound

Dear Editor

MPPs have the unique opportunity to partake in the process of shaping laws that affect the province and the riding. At base, their role is to advocate for and on behalf of their communities, for the benefit of those communities. Their action, or inaction, will shape decisions that will affect Ontario in both the short- and long-term. Due to the importance of the position, this is not a decision any voter should take lightly.

In this election cycle, the constituents of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound are fortunate enough to have a wide array of candidates. The majority of these candidates are members of our communities. The majority of these candidates live in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound.

Francesca Dobbyn, Karen Gventer, Elizabeth Marshall, and Enos Martin and their families all live in the riding. All are members of our communities. As such, they all are well suited to advocate for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound if elected to Queen's Park.

Bill Walker, our incumbent MPP doesn't live in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound. He's a parachute candidate. An opportunist. As a non-resident, is he really our best choice? He's been our MPP for approximately 6 ½ years, and what exactly has he accomplished for our riding - a riding that he doesn't reside in?

According to Bill, at the debates in Owen Sound and Keady, he is defined by three cardinal issues: the provincial debt, advocacy for our local economy, and fighting against local school closures. Has his work in these areas provided any real benefit for our communities? Does his position on these issues provide us any hope for the future? No.

Bill has been consistently critical of the provincial debt. Yet, he dodged questions about how a PC government would actually tackle the debt. No increase in taxes on the wealthiest amongst us. No indication as to what programs would be cut. The problem here is that there is simply no plan. Something must be cut to reduce the deficit, and we should be sceptical of the salesman who can't describe the product he is trying to sell. This should alarm all of us.

At both debates, Bill's recollection was that he strongly advocated for the local economy since his election some 6 ½ years ago. His great example was his advocacy for the apple industry in the Meaford area. The problem with this example is that by Bill's own admission, it was an abject failure. Think about it. He's advocating for himself to be elected, by highlighting his inability to advocate for our riding. Is this the sort of thought processing that we want representing Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound in Queen's Park? Call me old-school, but I'd like an MPP that is a change maker, not just a noise maker.

Finally, Bill spoke at length at the debates about his work in advocating against school closures that devastated our communities here in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound. He should be applauded for this. But let us not forget, he and his family do not live in the riding. He has two sons. Did they go to school in the riding? I think not. As I remember it, the issue with respect to school closures was declining enrollment. Is it hypocritical for him to argue against school closures due to declining enrollment while children attended schools outside the riding?

Bill's tenure at Queen's Park has gone on long enough. June 7th, 2018 is an opportunity that should not be passed up. Vote for someone who is a member of the community, a resident of the riding. Surely any of the other candidates - all of whom live in the riding - would have a better understanding of the issues and concerns that are important to ordinary people living in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound.

Ron Oswald,

Chesley, ON

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