inaugural meeting of the Rural Council took place at the
Nepean Sportsplex, March 23, 2004.
Retired lawyer, Bob McKinley, chaired the meeting of
over 500 residents from all reaches of the former
regional townships of West Carleton, Goulbourn, Rideau,
Osgoode and rural Cumberland. Rural Councillors Glen
Brooks of Rideau, and Doug Thompson of Osgood ward were
both present to listen to their constituents.
McKinley began by defining the meeting as an impressive
coming together of rural interests, from farm
organizations, rural business, community associations,
and individual residents who all feel marginalized and
under-represented at city council. He stated that, in
the farm community alone there are over 10,000 jobs
(directly or indirectly) created, which generate more
than $400 million in direct and indirect sales.
that the rural area of the city, alone, holds over
70,000 residents, and that no mayor of the city of
Ottawa (or the former Region) has ever been elected with
more than a 30,000 margin of votes, from the nearest
competitor. Therefore, we can be a force to reckon with,
if we unite.
Amalgamation not working for rurals
The unanimous sentiment expressed at the meeting was
that the rural townships previously functioned in a
fiscally-responsible manner, local representation was
more effective and accountable, and in pre-amalgamation
days, the spirit of volunteerism thrived, giving a far
better sense of community, identity and historical
of those present, (by show of hands), expressed a desire
to de-amalgamate, Mr. McKinley suggested that
de-amalgamation should only be considered as a "last
resort", if all other attempts to be represented fail.
outlined for the Rural Council in the days ahead would
be to form working committees, set up a website, get a
questionnaire out to all rural residents and to begin
gathering the financial means and political focus to be
heard more effectively, as a single voice.
of the Ottawa Sun, reported the following (March
"At the official launch of the new populist Rural
Council, hundreds of rural taxpayers packed the Nepean
Sportsplex last night and refused to hold back any
longer how they feel about being swallowed by the city
four years ago.
..."It was a grave mistake to bring the
rurals into the city," said Joe Pacholic, who has
gathered more than 1300 signatures on a petition he
started circulating recently calling for a referendum on
"We want a referendum to be held to
deamalgamate, " Pacholic said.
Janne Campbell, president of the West
Carleton Community Association, immediately threw her
support behind the Rural Council, which was formed to
tackle a broad range of issues across rural Ottawa.
Campbell told her rural neighbours that
urban councillors have no concept of the country way of
life and because they outnumber rural councillors, the
rural voice is lost at the council table.
"The rural voice is drowned out by ignorant urban
councillors." said Campbell. "We deserve respect for our
traditions, values and rights. Today, we must stand and
fight the tyranny we are faced with."
The Ottawa rural community didn't have to
look far for outside support. Members of the Lanark
Landowners Association also made an appearance to show
"The rural revolution is under way," said
association president Randy Hillier. "This is our land
and we will make government back off.""
McKinley chaired meeting, Adele
Muldoon, from West Carleton, seated left.
Rural residents unite
with single voice. They
are dissatified with the dysfunctional, amalgamated
city, and demand changes.
President of the Ottawa Farmers' Business
Association, and a
member of the Agricultural and Rural Affairs
Committee, addressed the crowd.
Janne Campbell, president of the West
Carleton Community Association, stated, "We
deserve respect for our traditions, values
MacLaren spoke to farm issues, as a
Director of the Ottawa-Carleton Soil and
Snyder, Vice-President of the Richmond
Village Association presented Bob
McKinley with the RVA's donation to the
new "Rural Council."