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Work is cut out for next premier of Ontario

Listowel Banner editorial

North Perth residents may wish to read with a close eye this week’s story on Ontario Liberal leadership candidate Kathleen Wynne.

On Thursday, Wynne offered an hour of her time to sit with media and discuss her plans for the province, should she become the next premier of Ontario. She also took a number of questions on issues that have become highly contentious under the McGuinty government, such as education and the Green Energy Act.

Many readers don’t harbour much of an interest in provincial politics. Be that as it may, the next Liberal leader’s agenda will have a marked impact on life in North Perth. The previous one certainly did.

Banner staff appreciated Wynne’s effort to communicate with us during this no doubt busy time in the final leg of the leadership race. We are fortunate here to have good working relationships with our local politicians, and we certainly hope to continue that at the provincial level once the results of the leadership race come to light near the end of the month.

Wynne outlined point-by-point her plan for Ontario. Her intentions seem reasonable, doable and well-prioritized.

Two items on the list that hit home with North Perth residents are Wynne’s claim to restore more power to the municipalities and to proceed with clean energy on a more productive basis.

She was sure to point out that she intends to carry on the province’s quest for green energy, a move that will no doubt continue to garner discussion and debate. She also said she intends to engage in more productive, beneficial communication with communities about what the community in question wants, but also to ensure communities understand the rationale behind the government’s mandates.

“I don’t think we got it perfect the first time,” was a definite understatement on Wynne’s part. She says she wants the chance to try it again.

But one must wonder where precisely that leaves the whopping 96 per cent of local survey respondents who insisted they absolutely do not want a wind energy farm in this community. More communication with government is good. More communication with government respecting and responding to a community’s stance is better.

So far, Wynne has done things right. She’s visited communities throughout the province, not just those that count for the most votes. She’s been able to describe her plan with reasonable detail instead of strictly relying on political rhetoric.

And she recognizes the very damaged relations that exist between the province and many small, rural communities like North Perth.

We hope Wynne, or whoever replaces Dalton McGuinty as Ontario’s new premier, is sincere in his or her intent to mend those bridges. It won’t be an easy job.

- S.D.

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