ROB DRAL The Standard
UXBRIDGE: On Monday, July 11, Jennifer O’Connell, Member of Parliament for the riding of Pickering-Uxbridge, stopped by a council meeting, to update councilors and the public about the work she is doing to represent Uxbridge on the Federal level.
MP O’Connell focused a lot of her presentation on being accessible as a Federal politician and representative of Uxbridge, offering better connection with the community.
Jennifer O’Connell mentioned several ideas to bring additional government services to the town of Uxbridge. These ideas include: satellite offices, and passport clinics, to provide residents with a convenient option for government services, instead of having to travel to Pickering.
“If you hear of a real need, whether, it be an issue or like I said, a federal service, please let me know. I am happy to host these clinics or provide these services if there is an overwhelming need here,” said MP O’Connell.
She then updated the township on the “broader strokes” of the Liberal government’s mandate and what they are currently working on. These included, the reinstating of the mandatory long-form census, a greater focus on tax evasion, and infrastructure and transportation funding.
In terms of what specifically affects the residents of Uxbridge, MP O’Connell spoke about Phase 2 of the government’s infrastructure plan, which will open an application process for municipal governments to apply for infrastructure funding. It is in the process of being finalized and an announcement should be made shortly.
MP O’Connell said she spoke to officials from Infrastructure Canada, to reiterate what she thought was best for the municipality. She advocated for; stable allocated funding; and a moving away from the application-based process, which she said “bogs down the municipalities.”
MP O’Connell also advocated for infrastructure studies to be included in the overall project cost, as this was not the case previously.
“I know how much it can cost to get construction up and running,” said MP O’Connell.
One of the more important infrastructure projects in Uxbridge is the Uxbridge Pool project. Jennifer O’Connell said she “pushed that as much as I could,” and said Phase 2 of the Infrastructure Plan is where funding opportunities exist.
She also said multiple grant opportunities are available, and being accepted by one will not exclude the township from being accepted by another grant. “I am looking for any opportunity for grants that we can find,” she assured.
Another area of importance for Uxbridge, MP O’Connell spoke about, was rural internet. Jennifer O’Connell said she has had meetings, with both government officials and service providers, about rural internet opportunities, and mentioned $500 million of the budget has been allocated to rural internet, which is an “important first step.” She said this is something she is working on with government officials.
“Not only for the use and enjoyment of individuals who want to connect through the internet, but frankly, for a small business, home-based business, this is critically important… and I get that,” said MP O’Connell. She also said that this is one of the top priorities of the government.
Uxbridge Mayor, Gerri Lynn O’Connor, thanked MP O’Connell for coming in to update council and said she is, “delighted that she is now representing us in the federal government.”
MP Jennifer O’Connell said she plans to make these updates on a regular basis.
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