The Hon. Bernadette Jordan, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Rural Economic Development
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Dear Minister Jordan:
Congratulations on being appointed to serve as Minister of Rural Economic Development.
It is my hope your new portfolio will lend a willing ear and a strong voice to the needs of rural communities across Canada, including those in my riding of Perth—Wellington.
I would like to highlight a few of the issues facing the residents and communities in my riding:
- Lack of housing and transportation: Rural communities are struggling to attract and retain new families and young workers. There is a significant labour shortage and our local businesses have difficulty filling jobs. Lack of affordable housing and transportation options have made it impossible for workers to re-locate or travel to communities where employees are desperately needed.
- Internet access: Our rural businesses are at a competitive disadvantage, and residents of my riding are continually frustrated with the lack of reliable high-speed internet access. Previous attempts by the current Government have done nothing to improve internet service in our communities.
- Infrastructure: Our rural communities require significant upgrades to roads, bridges, water and waste-water facilities. Much-needed federal funding has been continually delayed under this Government, and there is a huge disparity in infrastructure funding between urban centres and their rural counterparts.
- Fair taxation: The Government’s Carbon Tax will disproportionatly harm Canadians living in rural communities. Tax policies of this Government, including the delay in reducing the small business tax rate and cancelling of tax-credits, have hurt our rural businesses.
Upon reading your Mandate Letter, I found the details to be vague and unclear. I am concerned the creation of your portfolio may be more about political presentation than real progress. Still, I am hopeful you will bring a strong voice to the Cabinet Table in order to ensure our rural communities are given the crucial representation they deserve.
John Nater, M.P.