Keep calm and carry on

Not that Ted Arnott needs advice, but the above headline is the best we can muster as he takes on the next challenge in his political career.

After the collapse of the Liberal party and the emergence of a Conservative majority led by rookie Premier Doug Ford, Arnott was selected by his peers to serve as Speaker at Queen’s Park.

It’s been our privilege to know Ted personally, politically and professionally for the nearly 30 years he has served ridings within Wellington County.

During that time he has managed to get his points across and serve constituents well, while earning the respect of the bureaucracy and fellow members of the legislative assembly.

This is no small feat, particularly in these hyper-partisan times.

That Arnott won the vote on the first ballot, speaks to these attributes. He is also a decent man, and however people feel about politics or politicians in general, it is an accolade earned and well deserved in Ted’s case.

Already the Ford Tories are heading into contentious areas – from abolishing current sex education concepts for school children, to ousting executives at Hydro One, then acquiescing on allowing portions of the sex-ed program to return. There will be many more such challenges to current practices and political intrigue as the Tories deal with excessive debt and copious amounts of regulation instituted in recent years.

The public voted for change and residents will have to sit back and see what unfolds.

Sitting back however, will not be an option for Arnott.

Along with serving the riding of Wellington-Halton Hills, he will now serve the role of arbiter and keeper of traditions at Queen’s Park.

With Arnott’s experience and genuine appreciation for democracy and its institutions, members of provincial parliament will be able to rely on sound decisions and a fair hearing for all according to the rules.

We appreciated Arnott’s comments after the vote, including his reverent regard for voters at home. One of the failings often noticed when people get somewhere is they tend to forget how they got there or where they came from.

After all these years – all of the trials and tribulations that come with serving the public – we are happy to see this type of grounded attitude remains unshaken.

Hopefully it is an example others follow as they exercise their duties for the next term.