Future begins now

It is now less than a year until new municipal councils are elected and sworn in across Rainy River District.
But before those elections take place, Ontario residents will go to the polls June 7 to elect a new provincial government.
All these races will have consequences for residents of the communities right across the district.
This riding has been thrown wide open by the decision of Sarah Campbell not to seek re-election as the MPP for Kenora-Rainy River.
So far only a single candidate has thrown their name into the provincial race–that being former Kenora MP Greg Rickford. Candidates still have to be named by the NDP and the Liberals.
Former Liberal candidate Anthony Leek already has indicated he won’t run again in the next provincial election.
Across the district from Atikokan to Rainy River, meanwhile, several members of municipal councils have indicated they will not seek re-election next October.
It is perhaps a great opportunity for the next generation of leaders to step forward to guide our communities into the future.
I wonder what opportunities that new eyes and new voices can bring to the table to increase the vibrancy and opportunities across the district. What hopes and aspirations do younger families bring to our communities?
As I go in and out of businesses this Christmas season, I am delighted by all the new young business people who have chosen to come to Rainy River District and build a life. It makes me hopeful about the district’s future.
What would we like in a council. What traits would we want our new councils to have at the table as they begin making decisions for the next four years or the next two decades?
At a meeting I attended on Monday, one of the board members said: “We have a window of opportunity to develop plans for 15 years in the future. The mine has given us this opportunity to make plans and implement those plans prior to the mine running out of minerals.”
That is the type of planning and foresight we should be seeking in candidates. The paper mill saved the district when the huge sawmills ceased their operations. The mine, in turn, has come to the rescue after the paper mill closed.
The district and each council cannot leave to chance a big industry dropping into the economy when New Gold runs out of minerals.
The future begins now. Search out and convince candidates they are needed to move your community–and district–forward.

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