By MPP Paul Miller
I want to congratulate MPP Kathleen Wynne, who was elected by the Liberal Party as their new leader, therefore becoming the Premier-designate of Ontario. I know that many of us are looking forward to Ms. Wynne’s Throne Speech setting out her platform; as well, as she stated, reaching out to NDP leader MPP Andrea Horwath and PC Leader MPP Tim Hudak.
As we have said ever since the 2011 election, Ontarians sent MPPs to work in a minority government and Andrea has been clear that she and our party have every intention of doing just that.
The dysfunction at Queen’s Park over the last 15 months created a contentious environment. We look forward to Premier-designate Wynne clearing up some of the problems created by her predecessor by finally striking standing committees with balanced membership from all three parties, by actually working with the opposition to find a balance in the issues that we each believe are paramount to everyday Ontarians and by raising the bar in the Legislature. We must work towards the collegial atmosphere that was once a hallmark of Queen’s Park.
During the period when outgoing Premier McGuinty prorogued the Legislature, the NDP MPPs have been very busy in our constituencies. We have consulted with Ontarians through group meetings, individual meetings and through web-based programmes to learn what is expected of our government and how we can work to ensure that we make progress on these issues. In ongoing efforts to be very clear about what Ontarians have told us, Andrea made announcements this week:
• A home care guarantee that will ensure seniors receive home care service within five days
• Giving the Financial Services Commission a mandate to reduce auto insurance rates by 15 per cent
• A commitment to find savings within the current fiscal framework while protecting the quality services Ontarians rely on
In January, Andrea also called on the Premier-designate to work with us to end corporate tax loopholes, to develop a First Start Incentive Programme to get youth back to work, to develop better on-the-job training for youth and to help those on social assistance transition to the work place by removing barriers to employment. These issues have been raised by the many Ontarians who participated in our consultations and are some of the issues that will get Ontario moving forward.
As always, if you have provincial issues and need help, please contact my office at 905-545-0114 and we’ll do the best we can to find a resolution.
February is Black History Month; for more information, visit www.blackhistorycanada.ca. Also, the week of Feb. 17 to 23 is Ontario Heritage Week; visit www.heritagetrust.on.ca for more information.