COLUMN: The next four years

MORRISBURG — Monday’s election results have given Liberal leader Justin Trudeau a four-year majority mandate, a stunning victory. Putting aside the left-wing media fawning over Canada’s new “dynasty”, to go from third-place to first, in 78 days is an amazing victory. Trudeau’s backroom handlers should be happy with their work. This leaves the question, what will the next four years bring?

If Trudeau sticks to the script, Canada will pull out of the combat mission against ISIS, cancel the F35 fighter jet program, run a deficit of 10 billion dollars a year for three years, and invest in infrastructure. There may be a change in the Canada Pension Plan, which means that Kathleen Wynne’s Ontario Retirement Pension Plan will hit the dustbin where it belongs. Canada will likely sign on to a cap-and-trade energy policy which will put another nail in the coffin of resource production in Alberta and drive up costs nationally. Trudeau’s “sunny ways” policy will include decriminalizing marijuana use, easing up of some restrictions on Bill C51 and other feel-good social programs. Not everything is negative, some things will just be different. Change is not always a good thing, but it is also not always a bad thing either.

In Cornwall, and in the five rural municipalities that comprise the riding of Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, get ready for four years of nothing. Big, fat, zero. The riding re-elected Guy Lauzon as their Member of Parliament, and it does not matter how good of an MP he is, the Liberals won, the Conservatives lost. Conservative ridings will get nothing but the absolute bare bones in the way of approved funding requests. Lauzon has a very good record for making sure SDSG was well funded for infrastructure and other programs when the Conservatives were in power. In his victory speech, he stated he will fight for SDSG. Good. But it will be a fight that he will lose for the next four years.  If municipalities in SDSG want funding for infrastructure, be prepared for your municipal taxes to go up. That is the only funding they are going to get. With the MP and the riding’s Member of Provincial Parliament both being from opposition parties, that is how it works in party politics in Canada.

The saving grace in all of this is that one-third of the municipal councils in this riding are too busy chasing their tails to get their act together to ask the Federal Government for money. If a municipal council cannot decide over the placement of a temporary trailer for an outdoor skating rink (South Dundas) or make a decision about water Fluoridation (Cornwall), how are they going to have a project to apply for funding for in the first place?

This election result may be just the kick-in-the-pants this area needs, a lesson in self-reliance. No project funding from the upper levels of government, an infrastructure deficit in the 10s of millions of dollars, and a lack of growth in decent-paying jobs. This area will have to become creative to move forward, or at least to tread-water. Hopefully the four other municipalities in the riding can provide leadership to pull along the two aimless ones.

If the councils can get their ducks in a row locally then the next four years should not be so bad for them, and us.




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