Time to find common ground on some issues

I sometimes wonder why we isolate ourselves so much.
District municipalities from Atikokan to Rainy River belong to the Rainy River District Municipal Association, which meets twice annually and then comes together with other regional municipal organizations once a year at the Northern Ontario Municipal Association.
Yet as communities across Rainy River District, we don’t meet often enough to grapple with issues that affect all residents.
There is a second, separate governing body across the district. Each First Nation has an elected chief and council. Each, too, appears isolated from another First Nation.
They all are members of the Chiefs Secretariat, which meets far more regularly than the RRDMA. And they, too, grapple with many of the same concerns as the members of the RRDMA.
There is not a municipality or First Nation that does not require upgrading or improvements to both their drinking water systems and sewer systems. It is a common ground that all municipalities and First Nations share.
Every local government shares concerns on learning and education. There is not a single First Nation or municipality that feels it has all the necessary funding to build and repair roads and streets.
A doctor shortage cries out across Rainy River District, which affects the lives of every man, woman, and child. Every government across the district has concerns about the health-care system.
So I wonder, “Why do we not lobby, together, the more senior levels of government to improve the communities in which we live?”
It was quite clear that the issue of toxic soil clean-up, which Couchiching First Nation was seeking, impacted every community that draws water from Rainy Lake or the Rainy River. Yet the RRDMA did not fire off letters to the Ministry of Environment, or any other provincial ministry, demanding the land on Couchiching be made clean.
When other Northern Ontario municipalities have sought assistance and requested support from Fort Frances, frequently the community has supported those requests—often even prior to the community formally asking for support.
Through the leadership of several First Nation leaders, Riverside Health Care Facilities, Inc. gained the dialysis facilities. That has benefited all in the district.
I would suggest councils meeting together should be able to identify priorities that are common to everyone.
I even would suggest that finding common ground on the most important issues facing councils may make finding common ground on issues that tend to divide governments much easier.

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