GUELPH—In advance of Sunday’s Ontario Liberal leadership debate in Guelph focused on rural issues and Thursday’s debate in Windsor focused on southwestern issues, MPP and leadership candidate Michael Coteau released a policy paper outlining goals for rural economic development, environmental protection and public services.
“I want to lead an Ontario Liberal Party that is dedicated to reconnecting with small-town rural Ontario, that seeks to earn back the trust of rural residents and that proposes to work in partnership to unlock the creativity, hard work and entrepreneurship of our rural and agricultural communities. We need to do that by changing the way we operate—the same old approaches and the same old people in charge will not get the job done,” Coteau said.
Amongst a broad range of detailed policy ideas, Coteau proposes to end the commercial exploitation of water where it harms the environment, implement a right-to-repair approach, ensure broadband internet provision in rural communities, leverage technology to improve agricultural production, and support rural schools and health care.
“Rural communities know best what they need, and they will tell you if you take the time to listen. I’ve heard from hundreds of people in rural communities in Ontario, and these are the priorities that we all share for a stronger, more connected rural Ontario,” Coteau added.
Michael Coteau immigrated to Canada as a child and grew up in Flemingdon Park, a working-class neighbourhood in North York. The first member of his family to graduate high school and university, he started his own small business, worked as a community organizer and head of a national nonprofit. He was elected to the Toronto District School Board three times and served as vice-chair of the board, championing digital tools in the classroom, equity strategies and community use of schools. Coteau was elected three times as Member of Provincial Parliament for Don Valley East, and served in multiple ministries where he was tasked with bringing people together to fix tough files, including supports for children with autism, reforming services for children in care, delivering a successful Pan-Am Games, supporting film and cultural economic development, and implementing an anti-racism strategy. He and his wife, Lori, are raising two young daughters.
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