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"Rural Council" holds first meeting
...500 motivated residents attend

The 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.

Mr. 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.

He added 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 pride.

While most 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.

The work 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.

Derek Putticombe, of the Ottawa Sun, reported the following (March 24, 2003):

   "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 deamaggamation.
   "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.

'We deserve respect'

   "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 their support.
   "The rural revolution is under way," said association president Randy Hillier. "This is our land and we will make government back off.""


    Bob 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.

   Richard Fraser, 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 and

  Jack MacLaren spoke to farm issues, as a Director of the Ottawa-Carleton Soil and Crop
Improvement Association.

 Harvey Snyder, Vice-President of the Richmond Village Association presented Bob McKinley with the RVA's donation to the new "Rural Council."

Ottawa Citizen article- March 24, 2004 - "Rural residents form alliance to lobby city hall"
Ottawa Citizen Editorial March 26, 2004 - "Rural citizens belong in city"
De-amalgamation is one rural option
- "Rural residents of Ottawa must thank the Citizen
  editorialist for leading us down the path of enlightened understanding. Your..."

Rural residents get chance to be heard -
by By DEREK PUDDICOMBE, Ottawa Sun, March 19,2004

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