The room was booked, the community was invited, and Carleton-Mississippi Mills MPP Jack MacLaren was ready to tell those in attendance the news that — in his view — a community petition would be effective in halting or reversing government plans. The problem? That meeting was held in Goderich Township, a good 7 or 8 hour drive from Carleton-Mississippi Mills.
The topic in question was one with which Mr. MacLaren and his Landowner’s base can relate: plans to de-amalgamate an area in southern Ontario that was amalgamated through the plans of his own PC Party and then leader Mike Harris. The method he intends to use to ‘let right be done’ is, in fact, a 400 year old British act that has been overridden by the Canadian Constitution. But those details aren’t the reason why I’m writing to you.
As a resident of Carleton-Mississippi Mills, I am disgusted that my MPP is spending his time supporting the efforts of a community hours away, in which residents elected their own MPP to handle their concerns, while willfully ignoring the concerns of residents right here in this riding. There are many examples where leadership in Carleton-Mississippi Mills is required, but I will stick with one with which I have been closely involved–and deeply disappointed.
I refer to the thousands of signatures on a petition to stop the development of a hydro-electric dam by locally owned Enerdu, on the Mississippi River in the heart of Almonte. For several years residents in Almonte and surrounding neighbourhoods in Mississippi Mills have called out for the assistance of their MPP, only to be ignored time and time again. During the election campaign, Mr. MacLaren made it clear he would place his opinion above that of the community, in offering his full and unconditional support to the project that critics say will have detrimental impacts on the river and the town for a number of reasons. These range from higher flooding potential, reduction in river flow during the summer, loss of upstream forests due to higher water levels above the dam, and the loss of the beautiful natural falls which have long been a cherished and celebrated jewel in the crown of the town.
To the residents of Mississippi Mills, this is a slap in the face to their concerns. Their MPP will not even entertain supporting the views of the community, but will travel hours outside of the riding to support a group whose views line up with his own.
Shame on Mr. MacLaren for flagrantly ignoring his duty as an MPP, and acting instead to represent others far outside of his riding. Sadly, this is not uncommon, as during the provincial election campaign I pointed out the number of times he’d spoken in the Provincial Legislature about Carleton-Mississippi Mill communities—usually none–compared to the times he’d spoken about areas elsewhere–notably more than 30 mentions of Quebec, and roughly 20 of Niagara.
If Jack MacLaren is so intent on representing areas outside of Carleton Mississippi Mills, the people of this riding would be best served by him stepping aside and letting someone else bring the real representation this riding deserves.