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SITTING DOWN WITH MP JEAN ROUSSEAU Journalist: Myriam Sainson

1. tte  tte avec jean rousseau mpI recently sat down with Federal Deputy Jean Rousseau (Compton-Stanstead) for a personal interview, at his regional office at 5142, boulevard Bourque, in Sherbrooke. Rousseau finds himself reaching the one year anniversary of his election, after his decisive victory over France Bonsant (Bloque Québécois), brought on by a strong 'orange wave' led by Jack Layton, NDP leader at that time. His first task, according to him, was that of transferring county files to his office which proved not to be a very satisfactory process as a great majority of these files were empty. This meant that he had to start from zero, in a context stripped of any collaboration with the former elected official and give his all, on behalf of his constituents, in search of assistance or information, in regard to the official fields of the federal government, such as citizenship, immigration, insurance-employment, income tax, federal pensions, passports and other sectors, relevant to federal jurisdiction. All this, in close collaboration with Valerie Laliberté, his parliamentary assistant....

MP Jean Rouseau is happy with what he is accomplishing and what it brings to the municipalities in his riding. One discovers that he is a speaker who is both direct and passionate, particularly regarding the amendment draft of law C-26 of the criminal code, relating to the arrest of citizens in cases of self-defence. As federal deputy of the NPD, he naturally follows the guidelines of the party which preach the "respect for the basic social structure" which is in force in areas of Canada and in the regions of Quebec.

Today, under the NDP leadership of Thomas J. Mulcair, Jean Rousseau finds himself being awarded a new position, that of NDP spokesman for the Agency of Economic Development of Canada, in 11 administrative areas of Quebec. His critical role in regard to the creation of jobs he particularly likes since he gets to personally meet organizations applying to the program. He will ensure the equitable treatment of these requests.

This program, under the direct authority of Minister Denis Lebel - Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Minister for the Economic Agency of Canada for regions of Quebec and Deputy of Roberval-Lac-St.Jean, has already set aside an amount of $11M, due in particular to the closing of satellite offices, in Quebec (Laval and Longueuil). He made a conservative evaluation in saying that "everything comes back to the Minister"... in fact, which is to wrongly promote the discretionary capacity of the minister, in regards to budget allocations and cuts.

One of the hottest files of the moment in his county, is, without a doubt, that of the wind turbines project destined for Derby Line, Vermont, which he is following very closely, at the moment more as an observer than as a spokesperson. This role could then change if the situation becomes enflamed; then a political and diplomatic action on his part could be considered.

It is important to point out the initial context which has been generating conflicts and reactions on the part of the Town of Stanstead and its citizens. It concerns the project to construct a wind turbine on Grand View Farm, Derby Line (Derby Line Wind Project) and involves a request for certification from the Vermont Public Board Service (VPSB) and also '' the installation of a separate wind turbine and electric generating station on Smugglers Hill Farm '', bordering the Canadian town of Stanstead, Quebec. Following the information evening, in the Town of Stanstead (April 4, 2012), the citizens of the municipality announced their refusal to see such a project established. Soon after this discussion meeting, the Town Council and Stanstead Mayor Philippe Dutil adopted a resolution opposing the projects, at an extraordinary meeting held on April 17, 2012, a resolution which "mandates and authorizes Mayor Philippe Dutil, on behalf of the Town of Stanstead, to undertake the necessary steps to obtain speaker's status, a designation necessary to address and represent the Town of Stanstead before the VPSB ''.

According to Jean Rousseau, this project raises questions regarding consequences which could be as harmful for Stanstead residents who find themselves in close proximity to the turbine site as residents from this area of Vermont: noise pollution, deposits of ice in the winter on the wings of the turbine resulting in the risk of damaged rooftops, the mortality issue regarding migratory bird populations, just to name a few. On this subject, has there been a credible ratio/report done by experts? Who will clean up the dead birds in Stanstead, on the Canadian side of the Border? A regrouping of residents on the two sides of the border could then be created, in defence of their respective rights. On the initiative of a resident of the Town of Stanstead, there will be a follow-up of information at the Haskell Library, on Sunday May 6, 2012, at 1p.m.

Another disturbing file, in Rousseau's constituency, is that of Agriculture where, according to the latest UPA statistics, one farm per week, in Estrie, closes its doors -- piggeries and other producers. Facing serious debt, these farmers are no longer able to pay the interests of their bank loans and are facing bankruptcy and the abandonment of their farms. MP Jean Rousseau hopes to find new ways to preserve these family farms and allow an easier transmission of this inheritance to future generations. In fact, he feels that these assets should be consolidated, under the best possible conditions, with a significant federal involvement. He feels that the same type of process should apply to the field of forestry which is cruelly penalized by under-financing.

For him, the crucial problems facing rural areas need to take priority and must be addressed in the immediate future. He is extremely satisfied with the positive achievements within his county, like the successful revitalization of the Town of Coaticook, the efforts of the Municipality of East Angus to attract industries and to revitalize its downtown area and hopes that the twenty other municipalities in need of such revitalization (problems due to the serious decline in manufacturing), are able to do so by ''combining their efforts and projects with the surrounding municipalities ''. Alone and isolated, revitalization has little chance of succeeding on its own...

Information: County Office of MP Jean Rousseau: ... (819) 347-2598

                                                                            ... This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Photo credit: Myriam Sainson (MP Jean Rousseau)


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