Mental Health Week- May 6-12

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The head of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities applauds the federal government's move to create the new portfolio focused on rural Canada.

AMM president Ralph Groening says he's pleased to see a priority being given to Canada's rural affairs.

Prime Minister Trudeau announced the creation of the new office of Rural Economic Development during this week's cabinet shuffle.

"The past few governments in Ottawa have identified some of the needs of Canadians living outside of big cities and I think this will provide an opportunity for this new portfolio to identify what is important and to focus on some of the budget dollars that were made available to address some of the concerns in rural Canada."

Nova Scotia MP Bernadette Jordan will head up the newly minted office and has been tasked with developing a new rural development strategy to "spur economic growth and create good, middle-class jobs in rural Canada," according to the Prime Minister's office.

Groening feels Jordan's rural roots give her a good grasp of the job at hand.

"She understands small communities, she understands rural Canada and we anticipate she would understand that rural is simply not only small communities, but involves larger urban centres as well."

According to the federal government, one of Jordan's priorities will include bringing high-speed internet to rural homes and businesses, while working with municipalities, provinces, territories and Indigenous partners to meet infrastructure needs of rural communities.

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