Schmale looking for funding priorities
By Chad Ingram
Recently elected Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MP Jamie Schmale told Algonquin Highlands councillors last week he’ll be working to get local townships as much of the billions of stimulus dollars being dished out by the Liberal government as possible.
Schmale, who’s been making the rounds introducing himself to local councils, visited Algonquin Highlands councillors during a Jan. 21 meeting.
Schmale said the decision to run deficits to stimulate the economy – the Liberals pledged deficits of $10 billion a year during the 2015 election campaign – had been made by Canadians during the election.
“Now, it’s my job to identify priorities across the riding and to try to hook people into those different funding opportunities,” he said. “If we’re going to have this money, we might as well have it in our riding.”
Schmale said he understands that access to reliable, high-speed Internet is still a major issue in Haliburton County, particularly in Algonquin Highlands.
“This township has a lot of gaps,” he said. “As we all know, if you’re not connected to the Internet, you’re not connected to the world.”
Schmale said the Trent-Severn Waterway “is always a challenge,” and that he’d already met with Ted Spence, chairman of the Coalition for Equitable Flow.
Recently, Haliburton County council voted to join forces with the CEWF, as well as politicians in North Kawartha and Trent Lakes, to form an organization to speak with one, unified voice on behalf of stakeholders in the region, which contains much of the feeder lakes that supply water to the Trent Severn canal.
While Haliburton County may represent the smallest portion of the riding, “I won’t forget about the county,” Schmale promised councillors, joking that predecessor Barry Devolin, from the county, made him sign an oath in blood.
A former radio journalist, Schmale, who grew up in Bobcaygeon, was Devolin’s executive assistant during the MP’s 11 years in office.