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The chamber asks, David O. answers

Wednesday, April 23, 2014   by: Michael Purvis

David Orazietti told the city's business community that munciipal leaders should be wary of the “danger” of relying on provincial subsidies in its budget, while promising a Liberal government would keep that money flowing.

The city’s receipt of grant money under the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund became an issue surrounding budget deliberations this year, with the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce calling for City Hall to look for ways to be less reliant on the $17 million it receives.

The Sault MPP and Ontario Minister of Natural Resources said he doesn’t see Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government changing the way it administers the OMPF, or what he says amounts to another $14 million in funding the city receives in “uploaded” services.

Orazietti said there is a real danger another government would change or completely scrap the program.

“The reality is that municipalities and communities need to be aware that (the OMPF) is a program that our government has put in place and that another government might not support,” said Orazietti, speaking during a chamber question and answer session Wednesday morning.

Joe Fratesi, the city’s chief administrative officer, has defended the city’s use of OMPF funding, likening the fund to the vital transfer payments provinces receive from the federal government.

The chamber argues the city should increase its tax base by looking at ways of attracting industry, reducing its reliance on OMPF.

Orazietti sat down for a breakfast session Wednesday in front of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce to take questions on a wide variety of issues.

Chamber president Mark Barsanti quizzed Orazietti with a series of member-submitted questions on transportation, tourism, public sector wages, and municipal subsidies, among other subjects.

Orazietti was also asked his view of what he sees happening in the riding over the next decade.

Orazietti says he’s optimistic that the city’s population will continue to grow and that efforts will continue to be made to retain youth and diversify the economy.

“I’ve always believed as someone growing up in this community, that this community has so much potential,” said Orazietti.

(PHOTO: Chamber president Mark Barsanti and MPP David Orazietti partake in banter during a chamber question and answer period on Wednesday. Michael Purvis/

Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
ThinkAgain 4/23/2014 6:05:38 PM Report

David O has been a busy little beaver last few days
OrlandoFlorida 4/23/2014 6:11:37 PM Report

Maybe we should ask our local MPP why the Ontario Energy Minister announced today that our electricity bills will be rising another $120 as a result of removing the 10% electricity rebate we are getting now.

The typical Ontario residential hydro consumer can expect to see their bills leap by roughly $120 a year in 2016.

Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli announced Wednesday that his government will retire the Debt Retirement Charge (DRC) on hydro bills starting on Jan. 1 2016, an annual savings of just under $70.
steelworker 4/23/2014 6:18:12 PM Report

Not to worry. Wynne said today that she would cancel the hydro debt repayment part of your bill if you vote for her in the next election. I'm swooning.
Right of Centre 4/24/2014 12:05:56 AM Report

Time to go Galt.
Gurpy 4/24/2014 7:23:34 AM Report

Why not put PUC on the Ombudsman`s radar? He`s already investigating Hydro One. If something isn`t done soon we will all be dining by candlelight on a regular basis. I haven`t voted in a few years but, I will be this election! Time to clean house!
FunMan 4/24/2014 7:42:04 AM Report

All of our elected folks say that the Soo is growing, Seems to me that we are declining or staying the same. Each day on Soo today the deaths reported usually outnumber the births.
The only way we are going to grow is if more people are going to migrate to the Soo.
What 's going to happen when the boomers die off. The City better start making plans for the big decline !!!!
David Poluck 4/24/2014 7:44:00 AM Report

As of yesterday I joined the Chamber of Commerce.
For twenty eight years I have not been a member and felt no reason to join...until now. Good job Mark. You have my support.
3rd times a charm 4/24/2014 12:15:18 PM Report

all this says, to me, is that if we don't vote Liberal, they will take away the money...and that PUC is robbing us blind, along with gas companies...
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