Brockton mayor asks county to comment on proposed federal riding redistribution

·2 min read

BRUCE COUNTY – The Sept. 1 Bruce County executive committee was amended at the request of County Coun. Chris Peabody, Brockton, to include discussion on proposed federal riding changes, and their impact on Bruce County.

“I don’t think the Huron-Bruce riding redistribution is advantageous at all,” Peabody said. “It (the new riding to be called South Huron Shores) stretches all the way to Highway 402 … three ridings, squished together.”

He explained his thoughts on the matter, saying that it appeared the effort to redistribute ridings according to the new figure of approximately 116,000 people in each, may have started carefully in the Toronto area, but by the time they got to the more rural areas, townships were just carved up and “squished” together.

Canada’s Constitutions calls for federal electoral districts to be reviewed after the census every 10 years, to reflect changes and movements in Canada’s population.

Peabody asked that a report be prepared for presentation to the Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission. Deadline for submissions is Sept. 25.

Don Murray, Huron-Kinloss alternate on county council, said he agreed.

“I’m very concerned, the way they want to split it up,” he said.

CAO Derrick Thomson said staff would work with Peabody on the wording of a resolution.

Report requested on cost of agency nurses

Peabody also requested a staff report be prepared during the meeting of the corporate services committee – specifically, the financial impact on long-term care that agency nurses are having.

The second quarter financial statement review, as it pertained to the county’s long-term care homes, focused primarily on COVID and emergency funding. However, one item in the report stated that for Brucelea Haven, “nursing is projecting a $663,000 deficit in the program overall. Salaries and benefits are projecting a surplus of $552,000 but the use of agency staffing to provide coverage more than offsets this at an estimated cost of $1,019,000.” At Gateway Haven, “nursing is projecting a surplus in the program overall in the amount of $97,000. Salaries and benefits are projecting a surplus of $995,000, and the use of agency staffing to provide coverage offsets this at an estimated cost of $872,000.”

The committee was told the net cost (of using agency staff) would be $344,000, taking into consideration unfilled staff positions.

Peabody commented on “nurses quitting (and going to work for an agency) to get a pay raise,” and added, “there’s not enough money in health care to sustain this … it’s not sustainable.” He reiterated a statement he’d made previously, in reference to his meeting with Ontario’s health minister, that “we can’t find the money for a two per cent pay raise for nurses, but we can pay fees to agencies.”

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times