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  Sarnia Ontario Canada

Squabbling magpies

The mayors of Lambton County's two cities are protecting their nests like a couple of squabbling magpies.

At the same time, Sarnia's Mike Bradley and Cam Ivey of Lambton Shores are creating a rift that could do serious harm to the federation of local municipalities known as Lambton County.

Ivey started the fight some time ago by convincing his council not to pay its portion of the county's $15 million pledge to Bluewater Health. Ivey says people in the north end of the county use hospitals in other counties and shouldn't have to pay as much toward hospitals in Sarnia and Petrolia. Before long, the townships of Warwick, Dawn-Euphemia and Brooke-Alvinston followed his lead, announcing they too wouldn't pay the hospital levy.

When individual municipalities decide to simply ignore the democratic decisions of county council, they weaken the authority of a federation that has served the region well for 157 years.

Bradley didn't help matters by issuing a thinly-veiled threat to pull out of the county system

"I'm not threatening this," he said, before adding ominously, "but if you take the Sarnia tax base out of the county system, you'll take two legs off the table. Sarnia could still survive as a separate city but I'm not sure Lambton County could survive."

That sort of talk will only inflame the situation further.

It's time for all members of county council to admit everyone benefits from membership in the federation. We doubt, for example, that Sarnia could have afforded the massive road projects currently underway on Confederation and Exmouth streets without the significant funding it has received from the county. Nor would the north end of the county have such a splendid facility as the Lambton Heritage Museum, if not for county council.

If the federation is to continue to survive and prosper, we're going to have to see more statesmanlike conduct from the mayors of our two cities.

Editorial Tuesday, August 22, 2006 The Observer


Date This Page Was Last Up-Dated:  August 27, 2006