KENORA – Leaders Ledger – Since being elected, I have recognized the challenges that face our region and province, but have been filled with a sense of optimism: the road may be long, but I know that we are poised to get there, if we work hard, together, and make the right decisions. This feeling of optimism was fueled by the possibility of what MPPs could accomplish with the minority government.
I was disheartened that much of the first session was characterized by political grandstanding, but chalked it up to being an “adjustment period”- knowing that it was likely difficult for any government to transition to a new way of doing business after eight years.
This fall session was the time I looked to, to bring a shift in the way business was conducted. New Democrat, Liberal, Conservative… it wouldn’t matter, because we could, at the very least, use the minority government as an “excuse” to cast aside our partisanship and get to the business of making government work for people.
Last week, for the first time since being elected, it hit home what a significant change in attitudes is needed for government to start functioning as people expect it to.
I was a little surprised by PC leader Tim Hudak’s comments on the heels of the two provincial by-elections that Ontario would see a general election by next Summer. I thought this was a little premature, and that it pointed to the level of cooperation we could expect in the coming months from the PCs. But no matter, we could still work with the Liberals.
Then on Thursday, the Speaker ruled that there is sufficient grounds to bring forward a very serious charge that was leveled against the government: Contempt of Parliament. The Minister of Energy has refused to share spending documents with the house relating to the election-time decision to spend $187 million to relocate a gas plant in Southern Ontario.
I have little doubt that these documents will reveal questionable decisions that were made at an opportune time and which cost taxpayers significantly, but for me, that is not the issue at hand. Frankly, I don’t care which party made the decision. For me, the issue is that we currently have a group of people in government who have lost their way. It appears they have become so consumed and blinded by the need for power that it is tainting their judgement and further hurting people who are already struggling at a difficult time.
I ran because I believe in democracy and I want to make life better for people living in the Northwest. I know that we may not always agree with the decisions that are made by government, but it is important for us to have that discussion and for the business of government to be conducted in a way that is both open and transparent and for reasons that are in the best interests of the people who live here.
We have seen signs that the minority government can work. But it requires effort on on all sides, and a commitment to working in the best interest of the people of this province.
Sarah Campbell MPP
MPP Kenora-Rainy River