A month or so ago I received a “flyer” from Agri-Food Canada entitled “Thinking Rural and Remote" promoting a number of government initiatives aimed at rural Ontarians. I thought “now there is something we need, I must check this out”. Now having done just that I must say I am not only disappointed but actual annoyed by the whole thing.
Lets just take a couple of the items, go to their web sites and see what’s its all about. Front and center is a bit about the “Rural Secretariat, a focal point for the government of Canada to work in partnership with Canadians in rural areas”. Great! However when you visit their web site we see much self promotion including a long list of organizations with which they work, but guess what? Not one link to any of those entities so that us rural folk can see what’s in the works or have an input to that “partnership”, just pages telling us how they “work with a broad range of clients”. If we look at the Programs section we get this “Rural Partnership Development Program - The final deadline date to submit an application for this program was November 30, 2008. Applications are no longer being accepted.” Well now that’s real helpful!
Then there is the Community Information Databank “it your community and your information”, yep, unless you are a rural dial up user! The whole site and information retrieval runs under that dreaded curse to dialuppers the “Flash Player”. Hmmmm scratch looking at that info.
How about “Rural Team Ontario, Comprised of representatives of 13 federal agencies and 8 provincial ministries.” Team members organize workshops, engage citizens, conduct research etc etc etc. But no links or information to said engagement or research are included on the flyer. Call me cynical but this sounds like beurcratic BS to me, look what we are doing, but not too closely!
Then there is “Joining the Global Village” a bit about hooking up remote communities to broadband internet and telephone. A great thing for those mostly native communities mentioned in the piece in the remote north who do indeed need this resource available, but then here I am just 3 or 4 miles from a major highway in SW Ontario and ½ hour drive from a good size city and can I get High speed internet, no chance! Not only that but not having cable I now learn that shortly my choice of television content (local news has already all but gone by the wayside) will be reduced to possibly one station due to the closure of rebroadcasting towers in this area.
Finally I checked one of the links given for Rural Learning, with so many rural schools up for “amalgamation” with larger (and more distant) schools I thought there may be some good support here, but no, just information about The Rural Learning Association and its membership but very little about actual practical assistance to the rural community.
My header says I am one of the rural minority, that’s no lie, increasingly rural residents are falling through the cracks because they are increasingly more and more of a minority and this bit of self congratulatory BS from our government does not make me feel any better. The whole thing was a total waste of paper, waste of good electrons, and more importantly a waste of tax payers money.
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.