NOMA presents lengthy list of resolutions to province, Ottawa

Whether it was sharing the gas tax, or increasing funding for land ambulance service, the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association had no shortage of suggestions and requests for Ottawa and Queen’s Park at their annual meeting in Kenora on April 27-30.
Even the prime minister was on the hot seat when he made an appearance on April 28 to field some questions.
Fort Frances Coun. Tannis Drysdale, who sits on the NOMA resolutions committee, asked Paul Martin if the government was planning to take any action regarding the recent decision by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to require all visitors entering the United States after Jan. 1, 2008 to have passports and for all American citizens to also have then in order to re-enter their country.
“Could you share with us what actions your government has taken or is planning to take to convince the U.S. government that this new security measure’s consequences for both countries far outweigh any benefits that might be derived from it?” she asked.
Martin replied he too was concerned about it, but pointed out President Bush was apparently surprised by the announcement and may be reviewing the decision.
Coun. Drysdale then pressed the prime minister to commit federal funding to improve and maintain airports in small communities such as Fort Frances, reminding him how important reliable air service is to keep professionals such as doctors here.
Martin replied he would look into it.
During the four-day conference, the resolutions committee put forward over two dozen resolutions, of which eight were approved and passed by the association.
These included:
•a request to the province to revise the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) program to cover the actual costs of services transferred to the municipalities;
•a request for adequate capital reserve funding for social housing providers;
•a petition to the Minister of Finance and the Province of Ontario to immediately release funds generated by the tax on gasoline to all municipalities regardless of whether or not they operate public transit;
•a request that both senior levels of government provide additional funding to address the deterioration of the infrastructure in northwestern Ontario due to insufficient financial resources within the communities concerned and that funding be made available to conduct engineering and consulting reports to determine the true state of infrastructure in northwestern Ontario;
•a request that both the province and the federal government jointly establish a prosperity fund to aid the ailing forestry industry along the lines of funding provided to the automotive sector in southern Ontario;
•a resolution to preserve the existing coal-fired power generators in northwestern Ontario and to develop a comprehensive energy policy to ensure the region has a sustainable supply of energy at an affordable price;
•a petition to the province and Ottawa on behalf of the Municipality of Rainy River requesting funding from the Canada Ontario Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund repair and improve the municipality’s aging sewer system and;
•a request for additional funding for the communities of Pickle Lake and Sioux Lookout to enable those remote communities to have appropriate policing at an affordable cost.