Working together

In our minority provincial parliament, the moments of non-partisan cooperation are few and far between.

In one sense, this is just “politics as usual,” with each party seeking to gain whatever short-term advantage it can over the other parties, in the lead up to the next provincial election.

Yet at the same time, people are fed up with politics as usual. Wherever I go in Wellington-Halton Hills, there is disappointment with government, cynicism about the political process, and disgust with the abhorrent behaviour of some politicians.

For most, politics as usual is seen to be failing us.

Yet, on an issue-by-issue basis, there are opportunities for cooperation across party lines.

On Oct. 29, I rose in the Legislature to inform MPPs that the Georgetown Hospital’s new Emergency Room was now open and accepting patients. I proceeded to thank the Minister of Health, who was in the House at the time, for the provincial grant she had approved two years ago. To conclude, I extended a public invitation for her to visit Wellington-Halton Hills again, when the newly renovated Georgetown Hospital has its official opening.

Immediately after I’d finished my remarks, the Minister came across the House to my desk in the front row of the Opposition benches. I thanked her again, and we shook hands.

By working together, where it’s possible to do so, we can accomplish so much more.

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Working together with Liberal MPP Bas Balkissoon and NDP MPP Paul Miller, I have introduced a Private Members’ Bill to recognize one of the most outstanding and accomplished Ontarians of our time, Lincoln Alexander.

After a long life of public service, Alexander passed away in October 2012.

Bill 125, An Act to Proclaim Lincoln Alexander Day, if passed, would proclaim Jan. 21 of each year as Lincoln Alexander Day in Ontario.

Alexander’s life was an example of service, determination and humility. He overcame racism, always fighting without malice for equal rights for all in our society. He changed attitudes and contributed greatly to the inclusiveness and tolerance of Canada today.

He served as a Member of Parliament, federal cabinet minister, chair of the Ontario Workers’ Compensation Board, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, chancellor of the University of Guelph, among many other leadership and community roles.

Bill 125 has the support of Alexander’s widow, Marni Beal-Alexander, other Alexander family members, and the Ontario Black History Society.

When I introduced the Bill on Oct. 30 it was greeted by a spontaneous standing ovation in the House, from all sides.

Our bill was scheduled for second reading debate in the Legislature on Nov. 28. It is my hope that the Bill will be called for third reading, and passed into law before Christmas.

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In the past month, I’ve attended numerous community events in Wellington-Halton Hills.

As always, I was honoured to be invited to Remembrance Day observances and ceremonies across the riding. I have always felt that these are the most important events on my calendar.

Again this year, we gathered to remember those who served in a Canadian or Allied uniform, those who gave their lives, those who were wounded, and those who came home forever changed.

I want to again express my thanks to our local branches of the Royal Canadian Legion and their members. Thanks also to everyone who came out to remember those who sacrificed so much, so that democracy and freedom would prevail over evil and tyranny.

We shall never forget.

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Arnott can be reached at 1-800-265-2366.  His website address is



Ted Arnott