It’s been some time since I’ve written a column for you, the good people of Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke. In fact, this is my first column since the election of June 7. And I apologize for taking so long.
Let me start by thanking you for once again supporting my candidacy for re-election in such a tremendous fashion.
It was humbling and exhilarating at the same time.
To be given the mandate to represent you once again for the fifth time is a responsibility I accept with the deepest gratitude.
I was honoured in another way when Premier Doug Ford offered me the transportation portfolio in his new cabinet.
After having spent 15 years in opposition, to finally go into government and also become a member of the executive council is something I’m still getting used to. Taking on the additional responsibility of a cabinet post has certainly increased my workload but I must say it is an increase that I am more than happy to bear.
As with any new job, it’s overwhelming at first but through time the new demands on your time become normalized.
One of the things I do find challenging when it comes to the issue of time is that I’m getting to spend less of it at home in the riding. I am grateful to the tremendous staff I have in the constituency office where it’s left to them to manage the issues on a daily basis.
Since being elected we have been a very active government.
One of our first items of business was to end the strike at York University so that students could get back to class.
We cancelled 758 contracts for renewable energy that the province didn’t need, saving the taxpayers $790-million.
We passed legislation cancelling the punitive, ineffective cap-and-trade legislation that took money out of the people’s pockets but did nothing to reduce CO2 emissions.
We’ve introduced legislation called the Making Ontario Open for Business Act that will, if passed, allow the job creators in our province to do what they do best by reducing the red tape and regulatory burden that stifles economic activity. By reversing legislation that was punitive on business and costing workers their jobs, we’ve sent a clear signal that Ontario is open for business once again.
There’s a lot of work to be done and it won’t be easy, but your new government is up to the task.
As a son of a Second World War veteran, let me also talk about something that has always been important to me.
On November 11, we will take time to commemorate Remembrance Day in a very special way. It will be 100 years since the armistice was signed, putting an end to the First World War. At the time, it was called ‘The Great War,’ and by others the ‘war to end all wars.’ We know now a century later that peace still eludes us. But we also recognize that the price of peace is eternal vigilance.
While the debt owed to our bravest and best is one that we can never repay, to the 117,000 Canadians who paid the ultimate sacrifice our undying gratitude is the least we can extend. And to all those who returned, many of them who have left us, but also those with us today – we should never miss an opportunity to thank them for their service to our country and their willingness to put themselves in harm’s way, to defend the democracy and freedoms that we enjoy today. It is easy to take them for granted but that is something we shouldn’t do.
I hope that each and every one of us can take the time to attend a Remembrance Day service in our communities. And if that’s not possible, have that moment of silence letting them all know, past and present, that they are not forgotten.
Find your moment of silence at a Remembrance Day ceremony in Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke. Learn more at ontario.ca/RemembranceDay