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MEDIA RELEASE – August 18, 2013: Dear Rural PEI… The Georgetown Letters Ordinary Islanders with extraordinary ideas.

Rural PEI is more than a post card from a bygone era. It is a community of communities.It is the economic engine of the provincial economy,with 55 per cent of our population living in non-urban areas.

Rural PEI is changing. Our population is aging and our youth are moving away. Our traditional industries of farming and fishing struggle to compete in a global market place. We are over-governed which too often leads to needed decisions being avoided.Too often we allow the industry of governance to put self-protection ahead of new thinking and growth.

Sure our communities face challenges,but those chal- lenges also afford opportunity,if we have the courage to look and the determination to put in the necessary effort to achieve success.The Georgetown Letters is a one-of-kind special section that focuses on these op- portunities.

The Georgetown Letters are the ideas cultivated from the experience and insight of ordinary Islanders.The section includes more than 40 letters written by Islanders who live both at home and away. Both views are important. Collectively they are a thoughtful collection of powerful ideas.

The Georgetown Letters is proudly published by Island Press Limited in the lead up to The Georgetown Conference, Rural Redefined. It will bring 250 ‘doers and producers’ to Georgetown from across Atlantic Canada October 3-5.Every effort is being made to ensure it is a dynamic,truly regional event.For instance,earlier this month a 37 seat Dash 8 was chartered to guarantee Newfoundland and Labrador delegates can cost-effec- tively travel to PEI. It is all being done without public funding.It was determined early on that Georgetown must not only be independent,but perceived to be.To ensure the perception of neutrality no provincial or federal politicians will be in the room.

This Special Section is appearing in our four publications: Eastern Graphic,West Prince Graphic, Island Farmer and Atlantic Post Calls. Some submissions may also find their way into other community newspapers throughout the region because Georgetown is about the sharing of ideas.

Both the Conference and the Letters are aimed at stirring debate and discussion about our collective future.You don’t need to be in King’s Playhouse to carry forward the ideals of The Georgetown Conference.We all need to get involved.We all need to identify priorities.We all need to work for a better future.Our political leaders cannot,and should not be expected to do it all.

I urge you to read these wonderful letters and consider how you can get involved. One idea and one individual can make a difference.

Paul MacNeill, publisher Montague,PEI

Download The Georgetown Letters (PDF), published by Island Press Ltd.