SDG Counties seeking answers from MPP

·2 min read

SDG – County politicians are looking for answers, and they have called Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry MPP Jim McDonell, MP Eric Duncan, and Eastern Ontario Health Unit Medical Officer of Health Dr. Paul Roumeliotis to a special meeting of SDG Counties Council April 21st.

County Councillor Allan Armstrong (North Dundas) called for a meeting between county council and McDonell to get some answers about the COVID-19 pandemic and recent provincial government orders.

Citing the “unprecedented times” and the “ever-changing landscape of lockdowns on, lockdowns off” Armstrong asked council at its April 19th meeting if a meeting could occur.

“To be quite blunt, we have been failed in Eastern Ontario in many ways,” Armstrong explained. “I think it is fair to say, economically, we are all suffering. Our mom and pop shops, our hair dressers and things like that – everybody is suffering unilaterally.”

Armstrong said he didn’t know how many small businesses in his area were going to survive the current round of shutdowns and restrictions.

“I’d like to hear from our MPP, he does represent us,” he added. “It would be nice to have him here to maybe answer some questions, to explain some things directly to this council.”

Councillor Frank Landry (North Stormont) suggested also asking Duncan and Roumeliotis to the meeting, similar to what the City of Cornwall did a few weeks ago when its council questioned McDonell about the provincial COVID-19 response. Council agreed.

Councillor Kirsten Gardner (South Dundas) said the priority for a meeting should be with McDonell and the meeting scheduled as soon as possible as the next county council meeting is not scheduled until the last day of the six-week stay-at-home order.

Warden Frank Prevost said it was important to add in Duncan to ask about federal vaccine issues.

Late last week, the Warden held a press conference where he called on the federal and provincial governments to do more.

“In short, we are fed up,” Prevost said. “We look on with envy as other regions and countries, including our neighbours just across the St. Lawrence River in the United States, enjoy the benefits of mass vaccination.”

He said that because Canada has been slow to roll out vaccinations, and that COVID-19 variants have become entrenched, the province has been shutdown again.

“This situation is unacceptable to our residents,” Prevost said adding that he called on senior levels of government in Ottawa and Toronto, and local MPs and MPPs to “turn heartfelt words into concrete action.”

Later on Monday, SDG Counties Communications Coordinator Todd Lihou issued a release saying that a special meeting between SDG Council and McDonell, Duncan and Roumeliotis will take place on April 21st at 6:30 p.m.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, council meetings are being held online. A stream of the meeting will be available on the County’s YouTube channel.

Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader