Premier: Municipal Partnerships Key

Photo by Tom Fraser, Blackburnnews.com

Premier Kathleen Wynne was in London Tuesday to speak at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario Conference.

In a speech to delegates from across the province, Wynne repeated herself in saying that partnerships with municipalities are important to making the province successful.

“We are working on the long-term project of building opportunity and prosperity across our province. We need each other’s help to do it,” she says.

Wynne describes the new OPP billing model as an example of the type of good work that can be achieved.

London is relatively unaffected by the OPP billing because the London Police Service is a municipal police service. However, municipal police costs are increasing at an alarming rate.

Wynne sounded interested in finding a way to keep it affordable for cities.

“I think there’s an overall concern about policing costs and the issues around the scope of what police officers are asked to do as part of that discussion. So we recognize that we have to now do that work with municipalities,” she says.

She mentioned investments into better treatment of homelessness and mental illnesses would cut down on rising police budgets.

“Those are very important aspects of changes that need to happen,” she says. “There are many people who end up being apprehended by police officers, because they don’t have shelter, they don’t have anywhere to be.”

Wynne was also asked her opinion on the banning of e-cigarettes in non-smoking areas. She said there isn’t enough evidence on the health risks to make a decision.