KENORA – Leaders Ledger – This week, Queen’s Park resumes after its summer break. While much of the upcoming agenda will hinge on the outcome of two September 6 by-elections which will determine if Dalton McGuinty has been successful in obtaining his much sought-after third majority government, I expect much of the attention will be focused on the spending scandals and misuse of government funds that came to light during the summer months.
Over the Summer Break more damning details emerged about the ORNGE air ambulance spending scandal; it was revealed that to save four Liberal seats in the 2011 election, Liberal Party Election Campaign Managers wasted over $180 Million of taxpayers’ money to cancel McGuinty’s previously-approved Mississauga Gas Plant; and the government manufactured an “education crisis” in an effort to position itself to win the two by-elections, while deflecting attention from its shameful spending record.
While the bulk of media attention will be focused on these issues, I remain hopeful that the majority of MPPs will remain committed to doing their jobs and making the current situation work. This may seem aloof, given the number and severity of recent scandals, but the bottom line is that MPPs were elected to get things done, and in the best interest of their constituents. I remain committed to this very important mandate.
While there may not have been many “flashy” pieces of legislation that passed, the previous session did see parties work together to pass anti-bullying legislation and Bill 8 (Ontario One Call), which included an amendment that I successfully introduced to bring a call centre to Northern Ontario.
While much of the grandstanding on issues like ORNGE garner much of the attention – and often take focus away from what we have been sent to Queen’s Park to do – Bill 8 shows what can be accomplished with the bill having been brought forward by MPPs from the NDP and PC caucus and all sides being willing to work together to improve it in the committee phase. If the minority situation continues, it is my hope that cooler heads will eventually prevail and that we can work together to deliver positive results away from the spotlight that often leads to the grandstanding.
Over the summer I have been fortunate to attend trade shows, fairs and dozens of public events in communities all over the riding. They have provided me with excellent opportunities to hear feedback and concerns that I will raise during the upcoming session. They have also enabled me to hear from constituents and community leaders about my upcoming Private Member’s Bill, which will be voted on in November. While I will need to use a future column to go into details of this bill, it will focus on promoting economic development, while fixing some pieces of legislation which have had a negative impact on our region. In the coming weeks I will announce a number of public forums and consultations on this bill and hope to hear your feedback about what can be done to facilitate economic growth and prosperity in our region.
Sarah Campbell MPP