Hydro, humility, humanity

Christmas 2013 is one that most of us will never forget.

The ice storm and the resulting hydro blackout meant frigid hardship for many of our residents, but in some ways it also brought out the very best of our communities.

All across the province, neighbour helped neighbour, with whatever they needed. Families spent time together, without the background noise of modern electronics.

And, most importantly, we showed our caring for one another.

Our local municipal councillors and staff in some cases postponed or interrupted their own Christmas celebrations to provide the needed leadership.

Hydro One and local utility staff, like the staff of Centre Wellington Hydro and Halton Hills Hydro, were prepared to work 24/7 in the cold temperatures to restore power to their affected customers.

They were all magnificent, and deserve our sincere thanks for a job very well done. And again, we thank everyone who was without power for their patience, perseverance and resourcefulness.

Now that the immediate crisis seems to be over, I believe we need to undertake a review of all that happened: what went right, as well as looking at the things that need to be done differently next time.

Accordingly, our Caucus has called upon the government to appoint a Select Committee of the Ontario Legislature to review the province’s emergency preparedness protocols, to seek better communication and quicker responses in the future.

A Select Committee of the Legislature would include MPPs from all parties. The committee would hold public hearings, invite expert testimony, and report back its findings and recommendations.

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On Jan. 21, the Province of Ontario will observe the first official “Lincoln Alexander Day.”

Bill 125, the Lincoln Alexander Day Act, was passed into law by the Legislature, receiving both second and third reading on Nov. 28. It received Royal Assent on Dec. 12, just before the House recessed for Christmas.

While I initiated the Bill, it would not have passed without the support of the bill’s co-sponsors: Liberal MPP Bas Balkissoon and NDP MPP Paul Miller.

Working together across party lines, we were able to give Lincoln Alexander the recognition his life merits. And we showed that MPPs from different parties can work together; something that should happen more often.

This Jan. 21 I hope that Ontarians will join me and take a few minutes to remember this great Canadian, and reflect upon the values of non-partisan public service, humility, and humanity that Linc Alexander lived by.

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Again this year, my wife Lisa and I are hosting two free “family skates” in Wellington-Halton Hills.

On Jan. 19 we will be at the Acton Arena and Community Centre, 415 Queen Street, from 2 to 3:30pm.

On Jan. 26 we will be at the Mold-Masters Sportsplex, 221 Guelph Street in Georgetown, Ice Pad B, from 2:15 to 3:45pm.

Everyone is welcome. We look forward to seeing you.

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Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott welcomes comments. He can be reached at 1-800-265-2366. His website address is www.tedarnottmpp.com.



Ted Arnott