Editor: I want to thank Ken Gillis for his letter to the editor today, especially his suggestion that in government I would increase the municipal grant thus enabling increased expenditure on snow removal. It would take an independent third-party audit to sort out management problems with the public works department of the City of Charlottetown to address the snow removal problem. Resourcing of the service should be done with that information in hand.
But Mr. Gillis is absolutely correct that an NDP government would increase the municipal grant. I did commit to this position last year at a meeting of the Eastern Prince Edward Island Chamber of Commerce. For decades the provincial government has been too dominant in controlling our communities and manipulating people with patronage. I strongly advocate decentralization so communities can chart their own futures and the political parties would be weakened in terms of
how they use public resources for political gain.
But municipal governments are not immune to such abuses of political power. Accordingly, for many months now, I have been advocating the inclusion of municipal governments under freedom of information legislation in line with most other provinces. Mr. Gillis suggests increased taxes may be necessary to deal with issues such as snow removal. That is not so. There are potentially huge inefficiencies in how public services are operated at this time, and the public is not permitted the information to make such assessments.
Municipalities should have more power. But everything should be out in the open. One action goes with the other. These innovations would make governance on P.E.I. more democratic, transparent, and effective.
We cannot keep doing things the same way and expect different results.
Leader, P.E.I. NDP