NORM PUTTICK/Straight Talk
To coin a line from a speaker at the Democratic convention: “Mitt Romney doesn’t get it.” I say Regional councillors in Niagara do not get it.
Just read a report that because of a change in provincial policy on social services, an agency worker says some of the homeless are in danger of dying in the streets.
There is a call to meet with MPPs Kim Craitor and Jim Bradley. Of course a meeting in Toronto will use travel costs that could be directed to the net loss of funding by the Region from the province, reported at $4.2million.
The homeless problem and the increase in those requiring assistance in Niagara is well known by report after report to councillors, and nothing has been done. The province uploaded some social costs to municipalities counting in the millions of dollars to the advantage of the Region.
I hope Craitor and Bradley meet in open session and advise the Region that in order to get funding, they must do the following:
Don’t spend $600,000 on another study to create a single regional water utility that we already know would create savings of $100 million.
Drop all eight economic offices in the Region. In the past 11 years municipalities have spent about $120 million for job creation. It’s money better spent on housing to create jobs.
Amalgamate the smaller municipalities and form one or three cities in Niagara. Enough money there to provide every homeless person in Niagara with a home. Build them interspersed along the miles of unused infrastructure already in the ground put there by Regional councillors against staff recommendations.
I send about five emails a year to Premier Dalton McGuinty about the waste of taxpayer dollars. I have met with Craitor who is doing his best to satisfy the local politicians’ demands for provincial funds. However the province will not interfere directly in local political affairs. The article on the homeless I hope is the catalyst for the province to finally say to the Region: “Let us send our experts down to Niagara to find $4.2 to balance your social service budget. While we are
at it, let us form three cities. We will also implement the one water utility you have dithered on for 15 years.
It would take Craitor and Bradley10 minutes in front of council. They could end by saying, “When you council do your job, we will be happy to continue doing ours.”