The Fall Scuttlebutt From Queen's Park
Let’s kick this off by letting everyone know that the Ontario Legislature will be having an extended recess while the Federal election is underway. Typically, the Legislature always starts on the Monday after Labour Day however, this year it won't reopen until October 28th.
This allows me to continue to focus on advocacy for you and all my constituents in Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston. Before the Ontario Legislature sits again I thought it may be best to fill you in on what has happened over the summer and what is coming up prior to the Legislature returning.
Broadband Quality Internet Survey
Internet service has been a long time concern in my riding, and I have been working closely with MP Scott Reid, Lanark County Warden Richard Kidd, and Frontenac County Warden Ron Higgins, to identify obstacles and develop practical and affordable solutions.
The Federal and Provincial Governments are investing and partnering in internet infrastructure with the goal of improving affordability, reliability, and access to the internet for all Canadians. To best advocate for where investments are needed in our riding I need your input. Recently, I mailed out a survey requesting your feedback on the quality and speed of your home internet. The response has been tremendous, and some of the costs and dissatisfaction is unacceptable. It is clear that investment is needed to provide better service to you.
If you have filled out our survey, either online or by mail, I thank you.
If you have not received our survey and would like to contribute please visit: RandyHillier.com/websurvey
I will be meeting with Hydro One executives in the coming days to discuss improvements to the process for ISP’s to attach fiber to their utility poles. Presently, the Hydro One application and approval process is complicated, costly and is an impediment in improving internet access in rural Ontario.
HealthCare Reforms and Initiatives
Quality and access to healthcare and long-term care has been a problem for too many years and one that requires careful examination to correct. The term “Hallway Healthcare” is frequently used to describe what has gone wrong and what needs reform. I’m very pleased to see all our healthcare providers participating in developing proposals for Ontario Healthcare teams, that will replace the LHINs and CCACs.
Lanark County Council has also created a sub-committee to participate and examine these reforms and proposals. I was pleased to be asked, and happy to serve as an ex-officio member of this working group.
Reigning in Conservation Authorities
In June, the Ontario Government passed the More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019. This act will bring changes to the Conservation Authority Act which are long overdue and a breath of fresh air. I’ve long advocated for reforms, and in November of 2018 I wrote to the Minister of Environment about reforming the Conservation Authorities. In a recent letter I was happy to learn that these necessary changes are being made, and the “core mandate” will become the focus again.
You can read my letter here: https://www.randyhilliermpp.com/conservation_authorities_fail_their_mandate
And the recent letter from the Minister of Environment here.
Here is a story in the Ottawa Citizen about what is wrong with the current mandate of Conservation Authorities and how they can harm law abiding homeowners.
Open Letter to the Minister of Education
There have been long standing disputes between the Minister of Education and our local school boards as well as with educators. I have continued my efforts to try assuist and resolve these growing issues affecting teachers, parents, and especially our children. In my efforts I penned an open letter to the Minister of Education that you can read here. I will continue to meet with interested parties and hope that school strikes can be averted, along with achieving improvements to education outcomes for our students
Much more work is required to resolve these issues, and when all sides come together to discuss the issues in good faith I believe we can find solutions to the problems left by the past administration(s).
Addiction and Mental Health Services
Over the summer I have been very lucky to attend many events throughout the riding focused on providing support for Addiction and Mental Health.
New Leaf Link, a local organization that provides Arts and Healthy Living programs for adults with developmental disabilities invited me to a demonstration of their karate program at the Harrowsmith Free Methodist Church gymnasium. I was very proud to see all the volunteers and parents making this possible. You can see my visit here and learn more about them here.
AMHS-KFLA, the Addiction and Mental Health Services for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington recently completed their newest facility. I was honored to be invited to its grand opening and learn about the programs to be offered at this facility. AMHS-KFLA are indeed a model for other service providers to emulate. Learn more about them here.
LCBO Convenience Outlets
I have some great news that is long overdue! Retail businesses in our riding will have additional opportunities to apply and become Convenience Outlets. While those who live in urban centres already have access to LCBO locations, many of our rural communities have been left behind and without access. These planned approvals will go a long way to filling that gap.
If you own a retail business in the riding and would like to apply you can find more details here.
Finally and very importantly, the federal general election is underway. While much focus is placed on the party leaders, I encourage everyone to pay attention to their local races; it is the person you elect locally who will be your voice in the House of Commons, not the leader, so take the time to become informed about your local candidates, and select someone you believe will best represent your views, and who will be most capable of bringing your concerns to Parliament.