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New MP leads pre-budget roundtables

get local thoughts on how the federal budget can help the middle-class, what infrastruc- ture needs will help economic development while also protecting the environment and meeting local priorities, and how to address those concerns in a realistic way that makes sure the financially vulnerable are not left behind. “The middle-class is the motor of the economy,” said Pierre Morin, Clarence- Rockland Chamber of Commerce President, during the free-discussion period. Both Morin and Clarence-Rockland Mayor Guy Desjardins listed the highway connection between Rockland and Orléans as a key local concern for present and future development. Morin noted that the com- mute is a constant expense for people who work in Ottawa. Mayor Desjardins is also lobbying Ontario Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca on the Highway 174/County Road 17 link, since both roads were provincial highways until the Harris/Eaves Progressive Conser- vative government downloaded them to local governments. Desjardins noted that upgrading the highway could benefit many local businesses already located along there plus help stimulate more development. Coun. Jean-Marc Lalonde noted many young families want to live in smaller be- droomcommunities like Clarence-Rockland while working at jobs in the larger urban centre. But, he said, they need a thriving local business and service sector to meet their needs. Helen Collier, City Chief Administra- tor, suggested strengthening the commuter transit connection, including developing a park-n-ride site near the Canaan Road intersectionwhere the two routes link, would be a real benefit. «Any time you have a full bus,» Collier said, «you’re helping the environment and reducing the pressure on people to drive.»

Ward 5 Coun. André J. Lalonde (left) and PierreMorin, Clarence-Rockland Chamber of commerce president, discuss some points with MP Francis Drouin following the pre-budget roundtable gathering in Rockland. – Photo Gregg Chamberlain


Chamber of Commerce, Centraide United Way Prescott-Russell, and local seniors and community groups, that the federal bud- get must show confidence in the national economy, provide better support for the middle-class, and create investor confidence for future long-term growth in Canada. «We also need to invest in our own people,» said Drouin. «I always say that we can’t call ourselves strong if our middle-class is struggling.» The MP repeated Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise for a 10-year infrastruc- ture investment program with $20 million each allocated to transportation, social, and «green» infrastructure. Drouin stated that the main goal of the pre-budget roundtables is to

New protocol The Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO) and half a dozen other regional school boards along with four regio- nal children’s aid societies (CAS) and the provincial government are working out the guidelines for a joint protocol to support the well-being and achievements of students who may be Crown or CAS wards. The hope is to improve the graduation rates for students who are Crown or CAS wards. – Gregg Chamberlain Le Banquet de la Francophonie aura lieu le 2 avril au Centre Powers de Rockland. Cette 18 e édition de l’événement se déroulera sous le thème Notre Francophonie sans frontières . Les billets seront disponibles jusqu’au 12 mars. Pour plus de renseignements, les intéressés peuvent consulter le site Web de l’ACFO PR au ou communiquer avec Nicole Charbonneau au 613- 677-1033 ou par courriel à The new Liberal MP for Glengarry-Pres- cott-Russell held his first major important consultation in his constituency since the federal election last year. MP Francis Drouin spent three days last week listening to dozens of people on their ideas for the upcoming first federal budget of the new Trudeau Liberal government. Drouin hosted roundtable pre-budget conferences in Rockland, Hawkesbury and Casselman. “This was all about getting the commu- nity’s feedback,” Drouin said at the Jan. 20 Rockland meeting, adding that he will present his findings to FinanceMinister Bill Morneau during the final week of January. At the start of the roundtable session in Rockland, Drouin summarized the global economic situation. «The world economy is weak,» he said, «and we have a weak growth environment.» Drouin told delegates from the City of Clarence-Rockland, Clarence-Rockland Billets en vente pour le Banquet de la Francophonie


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