A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Its nice to be heard!

Most of us who have a personal blog do not really expect to gather a great following or have an enormous impact upon the few readers who may stumble upon our ramblings, so it is a pleasant surprise when we get a response to one of our posts. A little while ago I wrote a critical commentary about a flyer I had received from “The Rural Secretariat”. I did not say anything earth shattering, I just bemoaned the fact that the links contained therein were not that useful. Imagine my surprise when I was contacted by said Government body with a request for a dialog upon my thoughts about the flyer and related matters.

“Steve” and I spoke at some length on the phone about the difficulties in communicating such initiatives to rural residents, the joys of internet compatibility for dial up users, the things that this small (9 people for all of Canada) department is trying to do and even what really constitutes “rural”. Not only was I impressed that Steve found and read my blog, but that given my remarks he had taken the time to get in touch and find out more about my concerns. That he was friendly and easy to talk to, open to ideas and future dialog and expressed the intention to put my blog rantings before his colleagues for discussion made this one of the most interesting and pleasant conversations I have had with a “public servant”. Thanks Steve!

Having talked briefly about the Senate report about rural poverty (it's much more than that) he directed me to another report on rural issues which I had not heard of before. The report entitled “One Vision, Many Voices” (PDF 3.9Mb) originated from the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties national symposium – Rural Matters! Forging Healthy Canadian Communities and included speakers and delegates from across the country. They came up with a number of suggestions on supporting our rural communities which meshes closely with that Senate report (Senator Fairbairn in fact made a presentation regarding just that) and I am told that there MAY be some movement towards implementing some of these suggestions. They are at least being talked about by those in government concerned with such matters, I do hope that these two reports and their recommendations do not go the usual route of such things and gradually get left by the wayside, so that bit a least was good news.

The One Vision report is going to take a little while to absorb and I will write more about it in the future, either here or at Shanejolly.com if that local “sustainability” blog ever emerges from “maintenance”! In the meanwhile I will add just one more request (apart from my already expressed thoughts regarding that “flash” content.) for the guys at the secretariat and the various supporting organizations – If you must put documents up in PDF format PLEASE tell us how big they are so that we know whether we are going to tie our phone line up for 2 minutes or, as in this case, 20 minutes. Oh, and a summary html page would be real nice to give us a clue about content BEFORE downloading would be nice!

Dialog on supporting and enhancing our rural communities is important and "The Rural Canadian" is always open for such discussions.

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