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THE OTTAWA CITIZEN                                                                                         March 26, 2004

City Editorial

 Bob McKinley says there is widespread  dissatisfaction among rural and suburban residents with the efficiency and effectiveness of an amalgamated Ottawa.
 CREDIT: Michael McGee, The Ottawa Citizen

Re: Rural citizens belong in city, March 26.

Rural residents of Ottawa must thank the Citizen editorialist for leading us down the path of enlightened understanding. Your editorial might more appropriately have been headlined: "Rural citizens belong to city."

The Citizen's assurance that "rural Ottawans" can depend upon their new Big Brother for help when needed is comforting. After all, we've never been capable of looking after our own affairs, nor have we ever had a sufficient tax base to support a proper police force or our own public-health unit. I guess we were just darn lucky for the 111 years prior to amalgamation.

I'm equally enlightened to learn that rural representation at city council should decline to bring representation more in line with our population. I wrongly assumed rights to representation were protected by the principles enunciated by the Supreme Court of Canada and reinforced by the Ontario Municipal Board when it repealed the city's odious ward-boundary bylaw.

The new Rural Council has been instructed by its members to re-evaluate the relationship between rural taxpayers and the amalgamated City of Ottawa. The current relationship is not acceptable. De-amalgamation is one option to be studied.

Megacities have been studied across North America and have been repeatedly identified as failures. Rural and suburban municipalities outside the Greenbelt once functioned as a public service, responsive to the needs of their constituents.

The level of dissatisfaction with city government has reached an all-time high since amalgamation. Rural Ottawa is not alone in expressing its dissatisfaction with the inefficiency, over-regulation, and big-spending practices of the new city. Many suburban taxpayers also believe that inefficient government poses a dire threat to providing essential services and to sustaining social programs and culture.

Bob McKinley,

 The Ottawa Citizen 2004