I want to begin this column by expressing my sincere thanks to the people of Wellington-Halton Hills for returning me to Queen’s Park for another term as your Member of Provincial Parliament.
Helped by my dedicated campaign volunteers and staff, we reached out to you, listened to your concerns, answered your questions and worked to earn your trust.
I will always be indebted to my magnificent campaign team members for their hard work.
For our party, the overall provincial result was disappointing, to say the least.
Mistakes in our campaign strategy cost us considerable support. An over-the-top (and at times inaccurate) advertising campaign launched against us by public sector unions, coupled with Kathleen Wynne’s appeal to NDP voters in the final days proved to be decisive on June 12.
However, the election is over. We must now accept the results, and get back to work on behalf of all the people of Ontario.
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On June 13, my staff and I were back to work at our riding office.
That morning after the election (fueled by lots of black coffee), I wrote a letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne. While I thought it appropriate to offer my congratulations, I also raised three issues which I believe merit the immediate attention of the government.
The Highway 6 Morriston bypass project needs to be placed on the Ministry of Transportation’s five-year plan for new highway construction.
Working with the council of the Township of Puslinch and with support from the County of Wellington, area residents and the local business community, we have been raising the need for this bypass for many years.
While some limited progress has been made with the approval of the environmental assessment, we call upon the government to recognize the safety and economic case we are making, and put the Morriston bypass on the five-year plan.
During the election campaign, Premier Wynne promised full-day, two-way GO Train service between Waterloo Region and Union Station in downtown Toronto.
We would anticipate this would include additional GO Train stops in Guelph, Acton and Georgetown, through Wellington-Halton Hills.
Few specifics and no time frames were included in the Liberal campaign promises to improve GO Train service. I am asking them to provide more details, and I intend to hold the government to its commitment.
The third issue I raised with the premier is the need for a strategy to expand high speed internet access in rural Ontario.
It is astounding that some rural residents still need to use “dial up” to access the World Wide Web.
The Western Ontario Warden’s Caucus has been pushing for the expansion of broadband internet service in rural Ontario.
I support their efforts, and believe that with provincial leadership and an appropriate public/private partnership, we can move this agenda forward.
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The Ontario Legislature resumed sitting on July 2. That morning, MPPs from all parties will be sworn in en masse in the Legislative Chamber by the Lieutenant Governor. In the afternoon, we will gather again to elect a Speaker.
On July 3, the Speech from the Throne will be the order of the day, kicking off what promises to be an extraordinary summertime debate on the issues and challenges facing the province.
The re-presentation of the 2014-15 provincial budget will follow in due course.
In my column next month, I hope to offer my thoughts on the Throne Speech and the budget.
As always, I welcome your comments and advice.
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Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott welcomes your comments. He can be reached at 1-800-265-2366. His website address is www.tedarnottmpp.com.