Video – Cobourg Mayor Appears Before House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance

In Editor Choice, Local

Cobourg Mayor Lucas Cleveland appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 9, 2024.

Bill C-59 is an act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 21, 2023 and certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 28, 2023.

Cleveland was one of the speakers during the day where he was given several minutes to speak about Bill C-59 then took questions from members of the House.

(Below is are the notes from Cleveland. He may have deviated from the notes as the video may show)
Thank you for the honor of speaking here today.

I’m Lucas Cleveland the Mayor of Cobourg. Cobourg…, the largest municipality in the County
of Northumberland. Cobourg..

An idyllic, beach side, heritage rich community… the hidden gem of Eastern Ontario.

Located just one hour east of Toronto, along the coast of Lake Ontario, south of Peterborough, we find ourselves on the traditional territory of the Mississauga Anishinaabe.

Today I am here to to share my community’s frustrations for all the things Bill C59 does not address in the hopes I can get your attention.

I want to ask why this Bill continues to completely ignore our world renowned natural gas sector, and why Canada continues to pass on the massive LNG potential as we transitions away from
dependence on Russian Gas.

I want to ask as a red seal journeyman who spent close to a decade working the drilling rigs of Alberta, one of tens of thousand who lost everything, my career, my home, my retirement saving.

Why did this government abandoned us and why is this finance committee not advocating to partake in the the 82 million dollar a day LNG market pumping into the US economy?

But that’s not why Im here today.

I want to speak to this Bill as a small business owner, as someone who returned from Alberta
with nothing.

We spent the past seven years building a business so we know from experience that its getting harder by the day to stay afloat,. we understand there are less and less incentives for
taking the risk.

So I want to ask, why does this Bill continue the tradition of the past eight years in completely abandoning the small business community while simultaneously growing the public sector at unparalleled rates?

But no, those questions are not germane either.

No!! Today I am here to speak FOR the citizens of Cobourg. I am here because I desperately need you to listen to them.

I need you to listen because they keep coming to me in droves, all of them fairly wanting me to fix things, things I want to help but they are all issues that only this government can address. And yet this Bill deals with none of these major issues.

I am the first person in our 200+ year history to go from citizen to Mayor with no previous political experience, I mean I just moved to this incredible community,

Our family specifically chose “The Feel Good Town” of Ontario we started our business and since then I have watched our community fall into total chaos like so many others across this country I wanted to just run my business, but our incredible community was under siege and I needed to try to do something.

So I ran and became the Mayor to change the way things were going and fix our community.

So here I stand 18 months later, proud of the drastic and sudden changes implemented in Cobourg and Northumberland County.

Our staff have been doing more with less for years. I am proud of the work and the attention we are getting for the work at the provincial and international level, but I need to get your attention here in Ottawa.

It seems like no one here in Ottawa is paying attention to what’s happening as nothing is addressed in this Bill.

Honourable MP’s of all the negative feedback I receive from my community day to day, as they share their fears, their concerns, their stress, their reasons for reaching out, their anger and growing frustration.

When they do, 99% of those issues need to be addressed by this level of government and unfortunately Bill C-59 does not address any of them.

When will this government seriously look at bail reform? Why isn’t that part of Bill C-59?

How many more people need to be assaulted during their lunch break in their driveways?

How many more women need to feel threatened?

How many times do our police need to arrest the same person for committing serious crimes before we actually will put them in jail to be held accountable?

When are we going to stop expecting the police to be everything to everyone?

Why isn’t there anything in this Bill about addressing a failed drug strategy that is destroying our communities?

When will this government listen to the thousands of seniors, women, and families in my community and those from across this country who tell us that they are afraid to come out of their homes due to the lawlessness, erratic behaviour, and changing face of poverty and mental illness in our streets?

Why aren’t we creating more treatment options and stop handing out ‘safe supply?”

When are we going to balance the rights of the vulnerable with our communities rights ?

I mean let’s really talk about it….why is there nothing in this Bill about actually doing something for our most vulnerable to improve their lives.

We can’t just ‘protect’ the rights of encampments and then fail to even try to address systemic issues in our continuum of care.

Why has it fallen to the lowest tier of government to enact bylaws that are the first to set standards of care for our most vulnerable.

We want this Bill to focus on delivering mental health services and not dental health.

It’s not cavities that are terrorizing my residents day-in and day-out in the streets of my community.

I guess I really want to know why there is nothing in this Bill that signals to Canadians that this level of government is ready to clearly state that the rights of a vulnerable few don’t automatically trump the rights of the majority.

Why doesn’t this Bill address that our courts need to start taking into account the competing rights of all citizens?

I’m out of time.

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to speak. I am here to advocate for our most vulnerable in our community who need all levels of government to do better for them, that’s why i was elected to represent the interest of everyone in Cobourg.

I am also here to speak on behalf of the silent majority in my community, and across this country, I am here as one of the many people who are tired of watching beautiful towns like Cobourg fall into chaos.

We are tired of the vocal fringe minority exerting too much influence on the decisions of this government.

I hope I have caught your attention today. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to address this group of decision makers. It has been an honour.

I look forward to your questions.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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