Friday, October 26, 2007

Lobbying for Border solutions

Unfortunately, it's not the Windsor/Detroit border that's being talked about.
Niagara delegation to Parliament Hill stresses region's importance
Lobbying focuses on need for more cash on variety of fronts

Although the faces and topics changed by the hour, the focus of the lobbying week remained constant: dollars for Niagara.

Money for border infrastructure upgrades and border policing.

Dollars for grape growers and a planned new bioscience building at Brock University.

“I think across the board, we were well-received,” said Partington, who returned Thursday from Ottawa after the series of meetings held Monday through Wednesday.

“I think (federal politicians) appreciate the message and the face-to-face meetings.”

Niagara West-Glanbrook Conservative MP Dean Allison agreed.

“MPs deal with thousands of calls and e-mails every week,” he said. “A face-to-face meeting really drives it home, leaves a lasting impression.”

Regional officials met with a slew of ministers, including Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Environment Minister John Baird.

St. Catharines Conservative MP Rick Dykstra said he felt Niagara officials left a positive impression on government ministers.

He also thought local politicians were able to take away some positive messages, too.

For example, the Region is asking to be officially recognized as an economic gateway to Canada.

That message made it through, Dykstra said.

“I think (the government) has an understanding that Niagara ranks up there with Windsor and Vancouver as important gateways to this country,” he said.
Edit: a local cynic emailed me the observation that Windsor could do the same kind of lobbying visit to Ottawa, it's just that they'd be meeting with Joe Comartin, Brian Masse and Jack Layton. Hardly worth the trip