Hughes Challenges Government to Support Northern Municipalities in Need

Ottawa – Any stimulus spending in the upcoming budget should address the needs of municipalities according to Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP, Carol Hughes.   During debate in parliament, Hughes also stressed the need for a plan that is workable for rural and smaller northern communities.

“Communities cannot keep going year by year to find out if they are going to get the infrastructure dollars,” said Hughes. “We need long term funding for municipalities, especially the smaller communities and the rural communities who don’t have the luxury of having an engineer at the ready - because it takes them a little bit longer. We’ve heard from many communities, how some of them found the timelines too tight.”

Hughes reminded the government that infrastructure dollars are not limited to specific services in any one community but are also a boon to the entire economy.

The MP also took the opportunity to relate some of the concerns she is hearing from communities in Algoma-Manitoulin Kapuskasing, showing the need to maintain infrastructure is universal in Canada. 

“We have to consider places like Chapleau whose pipes for water are deteriorating so bad that there is coloured water and there is sediment in the water when they open their taps,” said Hughes. (moved)

The MP explained how a growing number of problems on Manitoulin Island are directly linked to the record low water level in Lake Huron and will require assistance.   Homeowners are facing problems with their water supply and there is a pressing need to dredge the harbour in South Baymouth so the ferry can dock.  In cases like these, there will be a role for the federal government to play.

“The immediate participation of the federal government is required to ensure the channel is dredged for safe passage of the Chi-Cheemaun ferry as this has an impact on the economy for all of Manitoulin Island,” said Hughes.

Hughes argued that only a longer window can truly level the playing field when it comes time to approve projects and challenged the government to recognize this and commit to a solution.