LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ONTARIO
ASSEMBLÉE LÉGISLATIVE DE L’ONTARIO
Tuesday 31 May 2011 Mardi 31 mai 2011
The House recessed from 1742 to 1845.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
ORDER OF BUSINESS
Hon. Monique M. Smith: I believe we have unanimous consent that this evening’s meeting be set aside for tributes to members not seeking re-election, according to the following arrangements: For each tribute, one member from each recognized party may speak for up to two minutes, followed by a reply from the member for up to five minutes. At the end of all the tributes, the Speaker shall, without motion, immediately adjourn the House.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Agreed? Agreed.
Mr. John Yakabuski: I’m pleased to lead this off. It’s not very often that you get to honour and pay tribute to someone who has served this Legislature and their province with such distinction for 34 years. I’m honoured to be speaking on behalf of the PC caucus today for my colleague, a mentor and a friend, Norm Sterling.
I can tell you, folks, that I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for Norm Sterling. Many years ago, before I did run for this office, Norm encouraged me to do so. To make a long story short, we didn’t think the time was right. When the time was right, Norm was the first one to call and say, “Johnny, I think you’ve got to go.” I heeded his advice, and I did just that. But that wasn’t the end of Norm’s support for me. He visited my riding three times during that election, an election that was not going well for us, and at his personal risk in his own riding, he came to my riding three times.
When I was successful, he then made my job that much easier. I was wondering what I was going to do for staff, and he said, “Why don’t you talk to Mary-Frances and Joan?”, Joan being his wife and Mary-Frances being Mary-Frances Dulny, who both worked with me for several years in that office and gave a leg up on many of the rookies like myself. I say to you, Norm: Thank you for what you did for me. You made me a better MPP with the support you gave.
Norm won nine elections in four different ridings. He started out in Carleton–Grenville, then the ridings of Carleton and Lanark–Carleton and, currently, his riding of Carleton–Mississippi Mills—four different ridings having to get your message out and appeal to a different constituency so many different times. It says something about the work that Norm Sterling did.
In his time here in this House, serving on all sides of the House, in government, in opposition and even in the third party, when his party was reduced to third party status in 1987 until 1995—during his time here, he served nine ministries in a tremendously distinguished way, improving the lives of Ontario families in the process.
I know I don’t have a lot of time here and I know I’ve already exceeded it, but I want to say to you, Norm, on behalf of Tim Hudak, the Progressive Conservative caucus, all of your constituents, all of the members of this House and indeed on behalf of every citizen of this province of Ontario: Thank you for the service that you have given us, and thank you to your family, who are all here gathered today, for lending you to us.
Mme France Gélinas: Do we have unanimous consent to use the member’s name, or do I have to say “Carleton–Mississippi Mills”—
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Perhaps I should have started in the beginning: Welcome to all the family and friends who are here tonight.
We can restart the clock. Some of the rules that normally apply in the chamber, the Speaker will forgo this evening, including the use of names and the lack of riding names.
To all the guests who are here, feel free to applaud. It isn’t always the case, but tonight is a very special night.
The member from Nickel Belt.
Mme France Gélinas: That clapping was for you, Norm, not for me.
It is my pleasure to say a few words. I must say that it was really intimidating to meet Norm. I was assigned to the committee for public accounts, so I looked him up a little bit, “Here’s the Chair of public accounts,” and then you read the pedigree of this man: He has been in office forever, has won nine elections, has been minister for pretty well every portfolio; and I’m thinking, “Oh my God, this is not going to be good.”
I go to my first public accounts meeting. I have read everything. It was all the opposite. Norm was Chair, and he wanted the work of public accounts to serve the public good. He wanted to hear from each and every one of us around the table to make sure that whatever had been presented—it didn’t matter which ministry or which program we were reviewing—he wanted to make sure that the people of Ontario got value for the money spent and that if there was a way to improve, then every idea was good and everybody was allowed to speak. It didn’t matter that I had no experience and he knew it all; he valued the input of everybody around the table.
I’ve learned lots about public accounts and I’ve learned lots about how a committee of this House can and should be run by the expertise and the experience that he brought to the job.
It was a pleasure to serve on public accounts under the presidency of Norm Sterling. He brought to the job a way of doing things that you don’t see very often in this House. It was refreshing and it was especially very conducive to doing good work.
It was a pleasure to work with you, and it has been too short.
Hon. James J. Bradley: It’s a distinct honour for me to pay tribute this evening to a man who was once referred to by Sean Conway as the squire of Manotick.
Here’s an individual, Norm Sterling, who was responsible for the Niagara Escarpment plan, an enduring legacy for him. I can think of his anti-smoking legislation that he brought forward to protect the health of people in the workplace.
His initiatives in legislative reform will endure for many years and through many Parliaments.
His chairmanship of the public accounts committee—and we hear his reports on almost a daily basis—is something that we should all be proud of, all members of this House, because he has done an outstanding job in that regard.
He was one who has recognized, unlike so many on the North American scene in politics today, that it’s not the volume of one’s voice or the sarcasm or insult that is used that counts; rather, it is the logic of the argument and the level of articulation that wins the day, and he deserves credit for that.
Norm has made an immense, constructive contribution to the deliberations of this House and its committees. He has brought intelligence, good judgment and goodwill. He has conducted himself at all times with dignity, with grace and with good humour.
The people of the riding of Carleton–Mississippi Mills, the people of Ontario and those of us who have the privilege of serving with Norm Sterling in this House are fortunate to have had him with us for some 34 years. We will miss him immensely, and we all wish Norm and Joan well.
We are losing Norm from this House, and as I say, it will be an immense loss, because not many people come along of this ilk to serve in this assembly. He’s a person I’ve always looked to with a good deal of envy because he is so articulate, is so full of grace, is a person who conducts himself so well in this Legislature.
We all wish him well. Who knows? There is a heaven, perhaps, for those who serve in the Ontario Legislature. I have heard that it starts with an “S” and ends with an “E”; it’s a six-letter word that you should consult Bob Runciman about, because there may well be a future for Senator Norm Sterling.
Norm, you’re a very close friend. You were, when you first came here, a close friend of mine; you will be for a lifetime. I wish you well.
Mr. Norman W. Sterling: As you can imagine, this is a bit of an emotional time for somebody who has spent 34 years here. I know that the official time is five minutes, but I understand that a member gets a minute for each year that he has served here.
I want to thank Premier McGuinty for being here tonight. Thank you very much for attending what I consider a very, very important part of our legislative process, something that is new to the legislative process. I think this is the first time, because we have a fixed election date. The last time, before 2007, it didn’t occur.
One of the traits I hope that I leave with the Legislature is that members of this Legislature have a concern about the institution and that they defend that institution going forward. The institution of the Legislature is very, very important, and unless we protect it—the practices, the rules, the accountability argument—we are all in trouble and the people of Ontario are in trouble.
I want to thank all of the people of the four different ridings or constituencies that I’ve represented over the last 34 years. It has been a wonderful experience. I have been so lucky to have been elected and to have sustained that plurality, to be able to elect people, for nine consecutive elections. I lost my first nomination meeting in 1971 to Sid Handleman. I lost my last nomination meeting in this year, and I’m proud to say that my constituents have never said no to Norm Sterling.
Notwithstanding that I have spent a great deal of my time here in the city of Toronto, one of the things that happens to you when you serve as long as I have—I was talking to Bob Runciman last night—is you become a citizen of two areas. You become a citizen of the city of Ottawa, or eastern Ontario, and a citizen of the city of Toronto. So for Joan and I—my wife, Joan, who’s sitting in the gallery up here and who has served in this Legislature as a legislative assistant to Al Palladini and to my friend John Yakabuski and probably was one of the best assistants that anyone could imagine. I could name a dozen guys on the other side of the floor who would attest to that, too. I know Rick is holding up his hand.
I am also very, very happy that, during that period of time, even though I was away from my family for undue lengths of time, I have a beautiful, beautiful family. My son Ian and my two granddaughters Tierney and Hillary Doris are here. Stand up, kids. My son Ian, who’s sitting between them, doesn’t want to stand up because I’m taller than him. Ian is a wonderful father and a very, very successful businessman as well. Also, there is my daughter, Sara, and her husband, Normand Robert, and their two children, Sam and Madeleine. As I say, Mr. Speaker, we could do all we want in life, whether we’re in here or we’re in another occupation, but our family, of course, is the final word.
I have been blessed with a whole number of staff who have been with me for long, long periods of time during that 34-year period, and they have remained very, very loyal to me. I have in my office here Lesley Daw, who has been with me for 10 years. I have Jay Brennan, who has been with me for 15 years. I have Jackie Kearney, who has been with me for 21 years. All of these people, who are sitting up in the east lobby, have done wonderful work for me. But up in that section of the east lobby are all my friends—not all my friends, I hope—my closest friends, both from Toronto, John and Flo Pappain and Peter and Betsy Partington. Peter was an MPP from 1985 to 1987, and my friendship with him has lasted since that time. Elizabeth McGregor and Sasha Woodbridge—I can go on and on in terms of those people, but they’re all here tonight to celebrate the end of this part of my career.
I was so lucky to come here in 1977 and immediately be made parliamentary secretary to Roy McMurtry, who was then the Attorney General. I worked with him to pass some of the most innovative, exciting law reform that this province has ever seen. During the period from 1977 to 1981, I think the Ministry of the Attorney General had something like 35 different pieces of legislation. And they weren’t little bits of legislation; they were legislation like the first provincial offences act and the first family law reform act, which brought together all the common law with regard to family law.
After the 1981 election, I was made minister without portfolio for a short period of time and given responsibility for freedom-of-information and privacy laws. It was the first time I had been given that kind of responsibility, but I found out that most people like accountability for everybody but themselves. As I went from ministry to ministry, everybody would say, “Yes, I think the government needs this, but not for our ministry. We’re a special case.” So it was the first lesson I had in terms of accountability.
Perhaps the most important work I did during the period of time in Bill Davis’s cabinet from 1981 to 1985 was on the Niagara Escarpment plan. Quite frankly, the ministers who preceded me who were responsible for that particular portfolio had let it fall, and they were willing to abandon it. I picked it up, I gathered strength and, together with David Peterson in the early days of his mandate, I actually worked with the brand new Liberal government to see the Niagara Escarpment plan brought into law in June of 1985. That was a plan that had been there and in the making for 15 years, and I know that probably would not have happened had I not been given that opportunity. So I take great pleasure and pride in that.
As well, all MPPs should not be interested only in what the immediate issue of the day is, and so in 1983, I said that I was absolutely determined that we would have an entrance from the 401 to the city of Ottawa along what is now Highway 416. Local politicians—provincial politicians of my party—had lost the vision in completing that particular project. So I went to then-minister Jim Snow and said, “Jim, we have to get this thing going. If we don’t get it going now, it will never happen, because entrances to the city of Ottawa are closing down on us.” It took from 1983 until about 2000 for the project to be completed. But politicians must not think only about what is going to garner votes that day; they must think about their community in the long term. I’m so proud of the fact that I picked it up, got it going and it came to fruition.
We get opportunities when we become ministers. But when we are in opposition, we also have opportunities, but we have to make them. In December 1985, when we were in opposition, I brought forward the first piece of legislation in our country of Canada, provincially or nationally, to stop smoking in the workplace and in public places. It was not a popular thing to do in those days—we’re talking 25 years ago, Mr. Speaker. But I persisted and persisted, as I was in opposition—Jim would know that—and finally in 1989, after seven private member’s bills, hundreds of thousands of petitions and questions in the Legislature, the government came to its senses and brought forward a piece of legislation.
After that, I enjoyed working with the NDP government on bringing forward the notion of living wills or powers of attorney for personal care. I worked with them to bring that into place as a member of the opposition.
So I say to all legislators: You can in fact do things when you are not a cabinet minister, but you have to be persistent and noisy about one particular project and be focused on it.
When I became Minister of Consumer and Commercial Affairs, when Mike Harris appointed me, I wasn’t at all chagrined at being appointed to that or sad about that. I walked out of cabinet one day and Jim Wallace, who worked then for the Toronto Sun, said to me, “Norm, what are you going to do to modernize the alcohol laws in the province of Ontario?” And I said, “I’m going to do two things. I’m going to put beer on the golf course, and I’m going to extend bar hours.” I did it because in my constituency, golf course owners were losing business to the Quebec side because they were doing that, even though it wasn’t within their laws; and I wanted to extend the hours because we were losing young people who were drinking and then getting in their cars and driving over to Quebec, which had longer hours. So, particularly in the constituency of my friend John Yakabuski, we were losing young people who were not following the law, getting in their cars when they were inebriated and going across. So I probably will be remembered for that—at least, I mention it from time to time when I step up to the counter to pay my greens fee.
I had a wonderful experience following my good friend Jim Bradley in the Ministry of the Environment as the Minister of Energy. I was the Minister of Energy and the Minister of the Environment at the same time. I never could figure out how you could do both without a conflict, but that was the way it was when we were handed off government from the NDP. But I did become Minister of the Environment and worked on a number of difficult issues.
Perhaps the one we pulled off the best was the Drive Clean program. We not only brought in a brand new program, but we got it right the first time. Everywhere else in North America, when they brought in this particular program, it had to be brought back and rejigged. We told the people before we brought it out what it was to do, and the people accepted it.
Now, I’ve said from time to time that that program was designed for a seven- to 10-year period, and this is more than seven or 10 years later. Notwithstanding that—this is not a political night in terms of saying to people what they should or shouldn’t do in future—I was very proud of that program.
As Minister of Transportation under Mike Harris’s government, I was the only civil engineer who has ever occupied that post. I can never forget the first meeting I had with the staff at the Ministry of Transportation. When they came in, they introduced all their people, and there was a position—there probably still is in the Ministry of Transportation—of chief engineer. They said, “This is the chief engineer of the Ministry of Transportation.” And I immediately said back to them, “No, you’re no longer the chief engineer. You’re looking at him.”
I was there for far too short of a period of time. I loved the Ministry of Transportation. When I was a student, I built roads, I designed roads. I knew what that was all about.
I did one thing, particularly for my friend Johnny Pappain, who lives up in Brampton. He and I drove through the 410. We got the 410 going north of where it is to go around up to Highway 10. That project was sitting idle, it had to get off the shelf, and I got my people moving on it. So now when you go up the 410, you can go around Brampton in a lot better time than you ever could before. That was one of the concrete things that I did as the Minister of Transportation.
I also announced a whole number of highways down in the area I represent.
Anyway, I was honoured to serve as the Attorney General of this province for a short period of time, about eight months. Knowing that an election was coming along, I said to my deputy, “I’m going to be here for a short period of time. I want to do some things here in the Attorney General’s department before I go.” There were two significant accomplishments that I was able to do during that period of time. One was, I went to cabinet and I said, “I have to have some more judges,” and got a significant influx of money in order to expand the justices. We were going into an area where we could be dismissing cases because we weren’t properly handling them. That was one.
The second thing was, I started the paralegal regulation with the Law Society of Upper Canada. I said to their groups, boldly, straightforward, “Look, I would love to let you self-regulate, but you don’t have the organization to be able to do it. If you want to do it 10 years from now, come back and see the government and talk about it.” As the Attorney General, I appointed the first paralegal as a lay bencher to the Law Society of Upper Canada. Paul Dray was a tremendous individual and was able to carry it forward. I’ll tell you, that has been a tremendous experience. The paralegals couldn’t be happier with what has happened, and so I’m proud of that as well.
During the last eight years—and I’d better wind up here, because I think I’ve gone over my five minutes—
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: And your 34 on top of that.
Mr. Norman W. Sterling: During the last eight years, I’ve enjoyed chairing the public accounts committee, and I’ve had tremendous support from all sides of the House. I think we’ve had perhaps one or two votes where we quarrelled over something fairly insignificant.
I think it was telling when Shelley Martel, who was the first member for the New Democratic Party, came to me after we were sitting down and said, “Are we going to have a motion about how long each person can speak or how it will be rotated?” I said, “Look, Shelley, let’s just start this off as though we’re all going to have the same goal. If you have any complaints or you want to have a formal motion, we’ll deal with that later.” The formal motion never came in the eight years I was there, because everyone on that committee was treated as well as they could possibly be. No one felt that they were being denied the opportunity to ask a question or deal with a matter.
So we have produced over the last eight years not only some tremendous reports which the bureaucracy is paying a great deal of attention to—we have achieved some significant savings from the bureaucracy for the government. Not only that, we have altered the process to some degree. The next public accounts committee of this Legislature in the next Parliament will be better suited to deal with a whole host of matters and I hope will be empowered to take on an even greater role than we were. I’m proud of those reforms. I’m proud of the members who sat on it: Liz Sandals, Dave Zimmer, France, Peter Shurman, Julia Munro, Teddy Arnott and Sylvia. There were a tremendous number of people who were there. And do you know what? We all felt we were doing a constructive job and we all felt good after we were doing it.
A final word: I just want to say that I am sorry to be leaving this place, because one of the things that I would have wanted to do before I left was to be able to change even more. I feel that the institution needs a great deal of change. We’ve lost the whole notion of the Legislature holding the government accountable for what they do. Therefore, I would recommend that somewhere down the road, hopefully very soon, in order to gain back the confidence of the people of Ontario in our institution, perhaps, whoever the Premier is, they consider sharing some of their power with committees of the Legislature, with other Legislatures finding innovative ways to do that. Perhaps it’s a time for another Camp report on how to deal with that particular matter.
I leave this place not only feeling tremendously lucky that I was given so many opportunities to help the people I represent down in eastern Ontario, where I was born and raised and went to school, but I also feel tremendously lucky that I had a wonderful, beautiful, supportive family and friends to go through that journey.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): To the member from Carleton–Mississippi Mills: On behalf of all members of the Legislature and all of the legislative staff, thank you for your contributions to this building and to the citizens of Ontario.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): It’s now an opportunity to recognize the service of the member for Timiskaming–Cochrane, David Ramsay. I’d like to call on Minister without Portfolio Gerry Phillips to begin the tribute.
Hon. Gerry Phillips: I’m honoured to have a chance to say a few words about my great friend David—and I can use the word “David,” I think, Mr. Speaker. He should be very proud of his accomplishments here for 24 years. When I think of you, David, I think of somebody who brings an enormous amount of sensible judgment to issues. You somehow or other, have an ability to arrive at the right place on complex issues.
I got a chance to work with you first back in 1987-90 when David had the Ministry of Correctional Services—very complex then; very difficult. David found some creative new solutions. He then was the Minister of Agriculture, and I’ve always found that ministry challenging because of so many constituents with legitimate concerns. David, you handled that with great skill. Then, when we were in opposition, David was the caucus chair. For those of you who have been caucus chairs in opposition, it’s not that easy to keep a caucus in line. David did a fabulous job.
He and I have a great relationship. One time, he was getting slightly impatient with us. He said, “I’ve got a suggestion. When a point has been made at caucus by somebody, there’s no need for others to keep making the same point.” Everybody paused. I said, “David, I have an idea. When a point has been made at caucus, I think there’s no need for people to make the same point again.” Anyway, I liked it. We had a lot of fun. He was fabulous as caucus chair.
He ran for the leadership in the early 1990s, as many of you will remember. David, you were the first one who really was on the technology edge. You were famous for the information highway. Many of us thought it was something to be four-laned to the north, but you knew what it was. David was in the forefront on that.
I realize I have only two minutes, and I have almost used my time.
He did a terrific job as Minister of Natural Resources and also aboriginal affairs, and those things are difficult. He’s a minister from the north dealing with MNR issues and aboriginal issues. David, you brought your great skills to that. I’m proud to speak on behalf of our caucus and to thank you. Personally, I’ve had more laughs with you than any other caucus member or any other member of the Legislature, and I thank you particularly for that. You have made my life very, very pleasant around here.
David, the best of luck to you and Kathleen on your future.
Mr. Norman W. Sterling: I almost hesitate in getting up again.
I got to know David during his career as a minister and as a member of the Legislature. The thing that I found most intriguing about David was, when he was Minister of Agriculture, I was chairing the committee on commissions, agencies and boards, and we were dealing with the Ontario Food Terminal. We went through a whole bunch of recommendations. I sat on the committee, and I thought, at the end of the committee, here are a group of individuals sitting on a committee who were seized of a matter, who understand what’s happening at the Ontario Food Terminal. So I took the unusual step, as a member of the opposition at that point in time, and went to David, who was then the Minister of Agriculture, and I said, “David, one of the things that the committee feels is that there shouldn’t be a monopoly by the Ontario Food Terminal for ever and ever. There should be an opportunity for other people to be involved in setting up competing food terminals.”
David, not to my surprise but to my gratification, came forward and said, “You’re right, Norm.” I said, “Can we work together, you and I, to bring forward a bill that the committee can bring forward to the Legislature in order to open it up? It may be easier for you as the Minister of Agriculture to do that.” I was really, really pleased that he saw the opportunity and took the opportunity, and together we brought before this Legislature what I would call the first committee bill that this Legislature ever saw. That was because of the leadership of David Ramsay and the fact that he could step outside the box and do something different.
He has also exhibited that kind of independence in thought on my public accounts committee during the last while as he has served there. David, you not only are there to parrot what is perhaps the most politically acceptable policy, but you’re there to find solutions. Congratulations on your experience and your service as minister. Congratulations on your service as an MPP. You have done a great job for us all. Thank you.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Oh my God, here I go. Stop. I’ve got to tell a couple of stories, because you wouldn’t be able to do this without some of the stories.
I first met David—I don’t know if he remembers—back in the 1985 campaign. I was actually in Kirkland Lake. If you remember, Sandra Clifford, I believe, was your campaign manager. At the time, I worked for the union. I was on my way through, and they asked us to stop into those campaigns where we thought we had a good shot of running. So I actually went out knocking on doors for David, and it looks like we were somewhat successful that time. We’ll just leave it at that.
I really would love to go through some of the quotes that Bob Rae made at the time that you left the NDP caucus. God, they’re priceless. Could I? No, I won’t. It would not be the nice thing to do.
Anyway, I just want to say this: David is a fellow northerner, as I am, and we have sparred lots in northern Ontario, as in this Legislature, on a number of issues of principle, and that’s the way that I would put them. David and I have not agreed on some of those issues in regard to direction, but the one thing I can say is that David did what he believed was right. It wasn’t a question of doing what was politically expedient, it wasn’t about doing what the Premier wanted; it was doing what he wanted to do in regard to what he thought was important to northern Ontario.
We’ve had lots of time in this Legislature, lots of time on the airways. I can remember particularly a story about a bear dump somewhere up in Kirkland Lake, but we’re not going to go into that one. We’ve had lots of opportunities to spar over the years. What has been really good is that neither David nor I took it personally. David understood that he had a job, I had a job and we did our jobs well, and that meant that at times sparring would happen.
I know that you served your constituents well because, Christ, we could never get the riding back. So, I have to say, obviously, you did some work in your riding that stood well when it came to your constituents. I think that speaks to your commitment to the people of the north, the people of your constituency. It’s not often that people get to pick their exit out of this place. That you’re able to do that, that you’re able to leave from the Legislature and from Timiskaming with a good record says volumes.
On behalf of Andrea Horwath, on behalf of John Vanthoff, our mutual friend, and others, I would like to wish you well and to say, God bless in your travels. I hope you have a great time. If you’re ever looking for friends and people to talk to, Charlie Angus and I will always never be more than a phone call away.
Mr. David Ramsay: I am very humbled to stand in my place tonight to say goodbye to a lot of good friends. When I think about the time that I’ve had the privilege and honour to be here, in the end it’s really about the people—all the people that I’ve worked for, which is my first obligation, the people at home, but all of the people I’ve met as my colleagues, on all sides of the House, over all of those years, and all the people that you get involved with when you try to solve the challenges that face the people of your riding or the people of Ontario.
The other thing I think about is how much I love the riding that I represent. It has grown over the years. I was first the member for Timiskaming. It was a relatively small area—basically from Kirkland Lake through the Tri-Town area around Lake Timiskaming down to Temagami. You could drive the length of it easily in a couple of hours. In those days, I could do that in an hour and a half, but I’ve slowed down since those days. Over time, it has now enlarged three times. It goes to the 49th parallel in Cochrane all the way down to the French River, the fifth-largest riding in the province. It’s one of the most beautiful parts of the province.
I think that all of us as members have had the wonderful opportunity to travel right across this province. Not only do we live in the greatest country in the world, but Ontario is one of the most beautiful provinces in this country, from east to west and north to south. It is stunning. Everybody needs to travel the length and breadth of this province to appreciate its magnificence. It is just incredible.
In a riding such as mine, the issues have always been of grave importance. They seem to be of grave economic importance for sustaining people’s lives. I’ve had a few of those over the years. When you’re there, you just go to the challenge and you go to the fight—whatever you need to do. We’ve had a few of those challenges over the years, but in the end the area is surviving, and in fact I’d almost say that today it’s actually rather prospering, some of that by the hard work of the folks that work very hard in my riding and some of it by good luck, as we’re blessed with wonderful resources. The world demand for resources today is really fantastic, so northern Ontario is really going to be flourishing again, thank goodness. And that’s great.
The people I represent are very, very hard-working people. They work in mines and mills. Some get the chance to work in a factory, but a lot of it is very hard work, out in the bush, on the fields; a lot of it’s physical work. Their recreation is enjoying the beauty of northern Ontario, its hunting and fishing and the winter sports that our area affords. It’s a simple life, it’s a basic life, but it’s a very satisfying life.
I started up there working with my hands: milking cows, having a beef herd, growing grain and working on tractors. That’s what a lot of the people I represent still do today. They’re great people, and I’m just very proud to have had the opportunity to serve them for the number of years that I have. You don’t want to tell people in Ontario, but I still think, and I think the majority of my colleagues would say, that this is probably the greatest job that there is in this province: to represent the people that you live with, your community and your neighbours. I’m very honoured to have had that opportunity. I thank all of you here, and all those people who were here during the time that I’ve been here, for all their support and their help. I wish all the future members who will fill these seats in the fall all the best for working very hard for the province that we all love.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): David, on behalf of all members of the Legislature and the staff here at the Legislature, we thank you for your service to your constituents and your service to the people of Ontario. All the best in the future.
MEMBER FOR SCARBOROUGH–AGINCOURT
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Now we’re going to honour Gerry Phillips, minister without portfolio. I’d like to call on the Minister of Finance to begin the tributes.
Hon. Dwight Duncan: It’s a wonderful privilege for me to say, thank you and best wishes going forward. I think that everybody in the House would agree—and the biography is wonderful: 35 years in elective office, in school board capacity, as an MPP in government, in opposition, and a variety of cabinet portfolios. I think he’s probably more proud of the fact that he coached minor hockey for 30 years. He tells wonderful stories about those days.
Time doesn’t permit to go into all of the enormous achievements he has had in his career. I can tell you, Gerry: Everywhere I go in the world, people are asking, “What happened to Treasury Watch?” They’re still looking for the most up-to-date copies.
But I think I would speak on behalf of our colleagues if I said, thank you for your friendship, your sense of humour and your support for all of us.
Gerry, for our caucus, has always been sort of like the Rock of Gibraltar. You could go to him for good advice, for a helping hand. In fact, most members don’t know this: He has been sworn into the budget process for the last four years now and has been involved—and I take responsibility for everything you don’t like, but he has been sworn in and been an intimate part of that process and a huge inspiration to all of us.
I want to take a moment to thank Kay, who’s in the audience today—I know Gerry will—and his family: Mark, Kerry, Matt, Kyle and their partners and spouses, and his five grandchildren: Jesse Lyle, and Sara, Chloe, Emma and Abby Phillips. Thanks to you for sharing him with us. We give him back to you, but we’re still going to call on him because he has so many wonderful insights to life and to the public life of this province, and as a friend and adviser to all of us.
Gerry, you’re a remarkable friend and a great guy. Good luck.
Mr. Norman W. Sterling: There will be other speakers from my caucus coming soon.
I’ll going to read a statement here: “Mr. Phillips is a wonderful gentleman, a wonderful politician, and should have been Premier.” Oh, that was the stuff that you sent over to me, Gerry; I’m sorry.
I’ve known Gerry for a considerable amount of time. I know how important Kay and the family, the Blues brothers and all of the rest of them, are to Gerry and his family. He has a remarkable record in terms of his family.
Gerry, I’ve read all of the background about you, and it doesn’t mention your golf game at all. I understand why your golf game is not mentioned. I’ve played golf with Gerry on a number of occasions over the years.
He is sort of the voice of reason. I think he should be a Tory, actually. I think he should have been a Tory.
Interjection: Not a chance.
Mr. Norman W. Sterling: Not a chance.
When Gerry was in opposition, I think that one of the most amusing parts of walking into question period each day was—Gerry was the finance critic, and Gerry would carry his filing cabinet under his arm, like this. He’d have I don’t know how many books here, but he’d have the last budget and the whatever, whatever, whatever. Gerry was very effective as a critic; he always knew his stuff. I believe and I’ve heard that he knows his stuff as a cabinet minister as well. I’m certain that your contribution as Chair of Management Board or treasury board, whatever we call it these days, as well as your commitment to government running efficiently, has done a tremendous amount of work for your present government.
I want to congratulate you on that work. A lot of it is hard slogging and a lot of it is not very exciting but, Gerry, you’ve been in the trenches and you know what you’re doing. You’re greatly respected by our caucus and by all members of this Legislature. God bless you in your retirement.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Gerry, I want to avow to something: that I shaped myself, as far as how I do things in this place, on a few people, and one of them was you. I never told you that, and I’ll tell you the story now. As I got here in the early 1990s, I came in in the sweep. It didn’t matter who you were on the ballot; you came in as a New Democrat and you got elected. I stayed, I always said, because Shelley Martel explained to me that I wasn’t elected as a great parliamentarian; I would get re-elected if I went to my riding, and I did that.
But the real test came when I came back in opposition. This is where I observed, because you were in opposition, at the time, to the Conservative government, and you were one of the people who I used to watch in the House, because you sort of figured out what your shtick was. This is a thing that I figured out watching you and a few other members—who I won’t talk about now, because some are gone and some haven’t retired, and I don’t want to tell them anything unless they leave this place.
But I watched, and it was the Dudley George issue. I was the newly minted critic for aboriginal affairs. I watched you day in and day out just go after the government, day after day, day after day, putting the questions to the government, trying to get an inquiry going. And I observed that you figured out, long before I ever figured it out, that a person has to basically get traction on an issue, and once you get traction on the issue you become a little bit the go-to person. I learned that watching you, and I want to thank you for that. It’s something that I probably shouldn’t admit in the Legislature here, but I wanted to say that publicly.
I also watched you as the critic for finance. I learned, watching you, that I don’t want to be the critic for finance, because, quite frankly, you were pretty awesome. You were able to pick up on the minutiae of the budget, to pick up on what were the salient points that were important from the perspective of your party and your beliefs, and to communicate that in some way that made some sense to the media and to the general public, so they would go, “Yes, that Gerry guy seems to know what he’s talking about. I like what he had to say.” So I observed you in opposition and watched you do your work as the critic for finance.
Then I observed you in government. You played different roles in government. I tend to have a fairly good relationship with most people on both sides of the House, and you were one of the guys who I could go to and just have a discussion about a problem. You always looked at it as, “Well, this is a problem that affects somebody in Ontario. This is not a partisan issue. How do we fix the problem for this individual or this community?” For that, and on behalf of many people who have had to deal with you over the years in your different portfolios, I want to thank you.
But on this I want to end: We had a chat the other day downstairs—we were probably going to the cafeteria to get a coffee or something. I was having a bit of a chat with you about what you are going to do. We both started talking about our grandkids. First, it was just to watch your expression and your whole demeanour about your family. What was really moving to me was that you said, “We’re a pretty tight bunch. All of my kids basically live in the neighbourhood. We eat supper at each other’s places, and we do things together as a family. We hold tight.” So I know that, yes, you might miss this place, and some, like the Minister of Finance, might miss you, but you’re going to get a chance to reconnect with your family, something that unfortunately many of us have had to put on the back burner. I really envy your ability go back and to be the father, to be the husband and to be the grandfather to your grandchildren. We want to thank you for your time here.
Hon. Gerry Phillips: I’m one of those lucky people in this world: Every day, I love my job. I love coming here. For 24 years I’ve been doing it, serving the people as best I can and hopefully having a positive impact. So it’s been great. But as we all know, it’s a bit demanding. I kind of looked ahead, and I said that I don’t think I can commit for the next four years to this job. Reluctantly, I’m stepping down.
Strangely enough, I still love it every day. You sort of start to ask, am I making the right decision? But I suspect that if you make the decision to leave when you don’t like the job, you’ve stayed too long. I’ve concluded that you’ve got to make that decision, and that’s what I’m doing. I’m leaving with a terrific sense of satisfaction in what I hope I’ve been able to help accomplish here. I’ve had a core belief that my goal is to make sure that every single individual in this province has an equal opportunity. I hope I’ve contributed to that.
I leave here actually with no enemies. You’re all my friends. I’m not mad at anybody. I leave with just friends and fond memories.
By the way I want to thank my friends Dwight, Norm and Gilles for your very nice comments. I appreciate it very much. You’re all good friends, and I appreciate it.
I do want to thank the people of Scarborough–Agincourt. I’ve served them, as Dwight mentioned, now for like 40 years. I was on the school board for 11 years and the hospital board for seven years. They’ve been very good to me. Even those who don’t agree with me, they’ve done it in, I think, the right way. They’ve let me know they don’t agree with me but respecting me as a person, so I have been very lucky.
As Dwight mentioned, I did coach hockey for 30 years, and I loved that too. For those of you involved in minor hockey, I’ll just tell you a quick story that illustrates why I loved it. One time, we were coaching six-year-olds, I think, and the goalie didn’t show up. So you say, “Who wants to play goal?” and the kid volunteers, and away we went. Things didn’t go all that well. The other team got 11 goals, and we got none. We’re coming off the ice, and one of the little kids looks at me and says, “Jeez, Coach, what was the score of that game?” I said, “Well, it was 11-nothing.” “Oh, for who?” I say that because they’re there just having fun, and, therefore, I was there having fun. Believe me it’s a great diversion, and many of you are involved in it.
I never sang, John, but I’ve been at the hockey—
Mr. John Yakabuski: You probably could.
Hon. Gerry Phillips: No, I couldn’t. He said I probably could sing. I can’t sing.
I want to thank the press gallery, by the way, too. I’ve been one of those lucky people: I’ve never actually been misquoted.
I want to thank my riding association. All of us know here how valuable they are. Many of them have been with me the full 24 years.
I want to echo what Norm said about the legislative staff. We’re very lucky to have a professional, independent, non-biased legislative staff, and we should protect that at all costs.
And the role of Speaker is so important. I’ve spent more time in opposition, actually, than in government, so I really value the role the Speaker plays, and I think that we need to support you.
I want to also thank terrific staff sitting up there. Judy has worked for me—or I’ve worked with her—for 44 years. Beat that one, Norm. And my good friend Jesse. Perry was there earlier; I’ve hired him four times. He’s left me three times, and I keep luring him back. He’s very good. He was formerly with you, Premier. People in my constituency office have been with me more than 15 years, so I’m very lucky to have a great staff.
My caucus colleagues, thank you for everything you’ve done for me. You’ve been fabulous. That’s part of enjoying it every day.
By the way, on opposition, I have a strong view that we may differ on issues, but you’re here for the same reason I’m here. We just may have different solutions, but you, in my opinion, don’t care any less about people than we do, so I’ve had, I think, a good, healthy relationship with the opposition.
If you don’t mind, I’ll thank Premier McGuinty. Without exception, he has responded to my needs. He’s let me do kind of what I wanted—and I thank you very much, Premier—including when, about three years ago, I said, “I want to throttle back a bit,” and he did that for me. I couldn’t have asked for somebody better to work with, Premier, than you.
Lastly, I want to talk about my family. Gilles, I think you mentioned it a lot, but I am blessed to have a large, wonderful, supportive family. My wife and I have four kids with spouses—five grandkids. Three generations are here: my great-grandson Jesse, who’s a good friend of the Premier’s, I might add, sitting right in the front row there, and then my daughter, Kerry, and then my wife, Kay. They are here today, and as I say, nobody could have a better family than I did.
Normally, Gilles, this is where somebody like me says, “I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family.” The reality is, I spend a lot of time with my family. As you said, Gilles, Jesse and Kerry live three doors from us; another one of our sons lives six doors; another one, two blocks. They’re there almost every day, so I’ve got to be a little bit cautious with, “Here comes your dad again,” walking up to the door. But I’m looking forward to spending more time with the grandkids.
Finally, to my lovely wife, Kay: I’m a bit of a numbers guy, as some of you may know. You mentioned it, Gilles. We’ve now been married for almost 50 years. That is 18,000 days that my wife has looked after me with loving care, and I can’t tell you how lucky I am to have someone like that. Luckily for me, there’s no end in sight, so I look forward—Kay says, “Get one thing straight: I’m not making breakfast, I’m not making lunch, but I’m looking forward to seeing more of you.”
Finally, I’ll really miss this place. I’m leaving knowing it’s the right decision, but certainly not counting the days. As I say, we’re all lucky to have this position. For me, even though I’m leaving, my memories will live on. Thank you very much.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): To Gerry Phillips on behalf of the staff and the members here at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario: Thank you as well for your service to your constituents and your service to the people of Ontario.
MEMBER FOR BRUCE–GREY–OWEN SOUND
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Now we begin our tribute to the member from Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound, Bill Murdoch. I will call on the member from Wellington–Halton Hills, Ted Arnott.
Mr. Ted Arnott: Bill Murdoch is one of the true characters in the history of the Ontario Legislature. He’s truly one of a kind. I call him a character in the way that we define that word in rural Ontario, meaning someone with a unique and ever-present sense of humour, whom you can never forget, even though some days you might want to. And I call him a character in the sense that he demonstrates unique and ever-present character, meaning a basic, unvarnished and direct honesty that means you always know where he stands and you know where you stand with him. That’s a rare thing around here, and it makes Bognor Bill unique and stand out.
I first heard of William Murdoch in a series of Globe and Mail columns by Michael Valpy in the 1980s. According to the stories, Bill—then the reeve of Sydenham township in Grey county—was asked to defend the planning policies of the county of Grey. Bill’s answer was this: that the people of Grey have rights, and their local councils have rights. The Toronto transplants are welcome in rural Ontario, but they need to understand that what Bill calls the “Toronto mentality” does not carry the day in the county of Grey.
We were both elected to the Legislature for the first time in 1990 in adjacent ridings, and we’ve served together ever since. In 1999, the Toronto Star called him a “moose on the loose” for his outspoken and independent views on the government of the day—our government. I would say that a more apt description might have been “crazy like a fox,” or better yet, “the Owen Sound Attack.”
From time to time, he may have annoyed the Premier’s staff, whom he once famously called “pimply-faced”—on second thought, I won’t finish the sentence, the final word beginning with an N, but to this day a subject of some dispute.
A review of some of Bill’s legislative proposals includes the reform of the Niagara Escarpment Commission—you recall that, Norm—to promote local autonomy; a proposal to license marriage commissioners; an end to voicemail in government offices to better serve constituents; always support for the beef industry and support for all farmers; and standing up to keep his jail open, as he did so eloquently this morning in question period. And let’s not forget his crowning achievement: leading the recognition of the great Scottish heritage of this province, including declaring April 6 as Tartan Day and establishing an Ontario tartan. I wear my tartan tie, the Ontario tartan, today to salute Bill.
While he was proud to come to work in Toronto, he had, shall we say, an ambivalent attitude about the big town. In fact, he thought it would be a good idea to build a wall around it to keep the coyotes out and the city folk in the city.
In his spare time—which he had very little of, because no one ever worked harder in his riding than Bill did—Bill raised cattle, pulling calves, which he will describe for you in vivid detail if your stomach is strong enough to hear all about it. He collects autographed hockey sweaters. He now has probably the largest private collection of autographed NHL sweaters, I bet, in the world. He and Sue make their annual sojourn to Cuba, where one day he will get his meeting with Castro that he keeps asking for, and Fidel will learn a thing or two about politics. Mentioning Sue, we know how her support was the pillar upon which Bill leaned and a source of his political strength. Their family—their daughters Angie and Karen—are Bill and Sue’s greatest accomplishment of all. We’re delighted that you’re here with us tonight.
We know that in the future we’ll be able to keep in touch with Bill on CFOS Radio in Owen Sound on his phone-in radio show on Mondays.
I consider Bill to be one of my best friends in this place. I was glad to be in Owen Sound last Friday with hundreds of Bill and Sue’s friends celebrating his public career. Chris Stockwell, I thought, said it best: “As long as Bill Murdoch was in the Legislature, there were four parties: the PCs, the Libs, the Dippers and Murdoch.” We’ll miss the Murdoch party. It was fun while it lasted. It will inspire mavericks for years to come to speak up for our representative democracy, as Bill calls it; to speak up for our people, the people who sent us here; to fight for what we believe in; and to tell the party whips and the unelected advisers in the leader’s offices to go pound salt.
Congratulations, Bill, and thank you very much for your service.
Mr. Paul Miller: It’s my pleasure to represent the New Democratic Party in these farewell comments about Bill Murdoch, the 21-year member for Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound. I know Bill definitely had some left leanings because he comes from Agnes Macphail country.
We all know Bill to be a colourful figure in this Legislature, not only by his actions but also by his colourful dress. Bill’s kilt has been worn often enough but has been quite notable on occasions when he has graced this Legislature wearing it. It has been an enjoyable time for me also, reminding me of my own Scottish heritage.
I’ve watched and followed Bill’s activities closely. In the future, if I do anything wrong in this House, I’ll be blaming the Bill Murdoch training program.
For 21 years, Bill has brought a particular brand of representation to this House. He has served on numerous committees in this Legislature but stands out in my mind for the period when he sat as an independent member. Bill maintained his good nature and dedication to his job even though no longer a member of the Tory caucus. He ensured that he was afforded his right to ask questions, thanks to the Speaker, during question period, and was vigilant in asking questions that represented his beliefs and those of his constituents.
Bill was welcoming and warm to me as a rookie MPP, even though from another party—behaviour that we should all aspire to. When I needed support for a private member’s bill to move to the committee agenda, Bill subbed in for a colleague to support my efforts. Bill recognized that the issue was what mattered, not the party I belonged to. That’s the sort of support of real causes that we should all emulate.
He lost his job for an independent comment for not toeing the party line, but that was what we should be able to expect from MPPs who truly believe in their convictions.
Bill’s famous musings about switching to the NDP so that we would have party status are an example of the kind of mischievous nature that is always just below that surface. Our party was a bit surprised by these musings and might have thought seriously about approaching Bill to follow through, but may have had second thoughts about a caucus with both Murdoch and Kormos.
Hon. Dwight Duncan: And Miller.
Mr. Paul Miller: And Miller. There would have never been a dull moment.
In closing, Bill, I want to thank you for your contributions to this Legislature: his unfailing representation of his constituents, his colourful antics in this Legislature and his friendly, supportive manner in his dealings with me. I want to wish Bill and his family all the best on behalf of the NDP, and wish him many happy and healthy years in retirement.
Hon. Carol Mitchell: I must say that I am absolutely delighted to be a part of the tribute for Bill Murdoch this evening. I wanted to share a number of stories. We have had so many good times with my friend Bill, and we get to carve the beast, as we say in Chesley, every summer in July for the cattlemen, and all the people line up to carve the beef. They all head to one table, whatever party you belong to, whatever level of government, but then Bill and I like to work one table. He does the Tory cuts and I give the Liberals slices, and we have everyone laughing and having a good time and remembering why agriculture is so important.
I can tell you that at every plowing match, it is always an experience with Bill. I think about one time I was so mad at Bill. You just have to say sometimes—Sue, I’m sure you know what I mean, because I know Bill went home and told Sue how mad I was at him. Beautiful flowers showed up that afternoon, and you know what? That’s what it’s all about. Bill has a big heart. He has a big heart and demonstrates it in so many ways. He demonstrates it to his community, I can tell you, every day, whether it’s the hockey game that he’s watching, encouraging all of the hockey players, or the Order of Good Cheer. I can tell you that when I’m in Owen Sound, I’ve heard about all of the community work that you have done, Bill. Congratulations. He’s a Legion member, and, quite frankly, when we think about the tartan, we think of Bill Murdoch and his respect for his Scottish heritage. I have always been proud of the fact that you have been able to bring that forward, the Ontario tartan. Congratulations, Bill.
When I think about Bill, I have to say that it’s a strong voice in rural Ontario, and it’s so strong that it can belong to multiple parties at a time and be able to juggle them all together. One could only do that with a big heart and a strong base. So Sue and the family, you’re going to get him home, but I know he’ll be doing his talk show, and I know that there’s going to be some calls coming, and I look forward to the calls, Bill. Enjoy your retirement. You have given so much to your riding and to the province, and I do want to thank you. I do call you my friend, now and into the future. Thank you, Bill.
Mr. Bill Murdoch: I want to thank Ted, Paul and Carol for those wonderful words. Sometimes we don’t get a chance to do that in here. I’m a bit emotional now.
Mr. Bill Murdoch: I’ve put my Little Norm in here. I’ve got to pull him out; I don’t want to get in trouble, because he’s a prop. This is Little Norm. Sterling says that he beat me at plowing and he gave me this, and I didn’t get it and I was mad. But I don’t remember that. Anyway, it’s sort of like Linus, who had a little—well, this is my comfort here. I’ll put him back out.
Anyway, I just appreciate what everybody said. When I first came here, I listened to some people, and actually, Mike Harris gave me some advice. I didn’t always listen to what Mike told me, but he did say that your family should come first, then your riding and then here, and I’ve tried to live that way.
My family is here. Susan, my wife, is up there. Angola, my daughter, and Karen, my other daughter, are both here. I have my sister Elizabeth and her son Michael Harris. Mike’s going to have a name like that for the rest of his life. I have a couple of friends, Kees and Linda van Aalst, who were here earlier today. I appreciate them being here today because if you didn’t have a good family behind you, you’d never last here as long as I have, and I really appreciate that. They pay the price too when you’re not here, especially when you come from a rural riding and you’re further away and you can’t get home a lot.
There are a lot of thank-yous I want to do because I’ve had great staff. I want to mention Sandra Breedon. She’s been with me ever since I started. We had two offices in my riding: We had one in Markdale and one in Owen Sound when I first got elected, and Sandra ran the one in Markdale. I lost that area for a while, and she moved up to Owen Sound. She’s been with me the whole time, for my whole 21 years. And I’ve had lots of other staff, too, that have really helped me. If it wasn’t for the staff—that’s a big, important thing. I learned that when I was in municipal politics. When I was reeve, the clerk was our person who sort of ran everything. If you didn’t have a good clerk, you could get yourself in a lot of trouble. I always was lucky when I was reeve of my township that I had good staff there also.
And staff here at Queen’s Park: I have to say that the clerks’ desk and all the other people who work around here have always been pretty good to me. Sometimes I get some bureaucrats who really don’t like me, but they’re further out. I’m talking about everybody who’s in this building and the buildings right here. They’ve always been great.
And that goes for the Speakers: I’ve been really lucky to have been friends with all the Speakers here. But, Steve, you really treated me well when that corner was occupied over there and it was me, myself and I, and I thought there were three of us there and we were doing a pretty good job. But if it wasn’t for Steve coming through—as the Speaker, you’ve made it good for me. I know I was bad sometimes in here, and I ask your forgiveness on that. It was part of the whole thing, and it never was meant to make things difficult for you, even though it may have. As I say, I can apologize for those and I have, and I’d do that again.
The other thing is, you have to have lots of friends to stay here. I’ve really been lucky through the years that I’ve been here and in my municipal time that I had lots of friends who always stood behind me, and they helped me in elections and everything. I really want to just put that out there to all my friends that I’ve had who stood behind me and helped me get through all this.
The other one is the colleagues, all you guys and all you guys over there. I sometimes say things in here that we shouldn’t, and we all do that, but I think that everybody who runs for political office, especially those who get elected, means well when they come here. They get elected to actually help the people in their riding. Even though I may not agree with some of the way you do that, I think truly you all ran because that’s what you felt: that you could make Ontario a better place to be, and that’s why you ran. I just appreciate everybody who has been here for the last 21 years.
I’ve really been fortunate; I’ve gone through all three governments. I started with the NDP, then we had the Conservatives, and now we have the Liberals. So I’ve seen you all. Somebody asked, “Were any of them any good?” I said, “Well, I’m still trying to figure that one out,” because I had everyone. Maybe the best one was that independent one. I was lucky to have that. I had that chance, though, and I don’t regret that. I don’t regret being here and doing the best I could for my area. As I say, I think this is what everybody does here.
The other one is my constituents. They’ve been loyal to me, really great. I’ve been elected, I think, five times since 1990, and they’ve always sent me back here. I have, as I say, a lot of friends, but the constituents—there’s people I don’t know. Sometimes people think they’re well known in a riding, but there’s always somebody coming up, and I say, “I don’t think I’ve ever met that person,” but they know who you are. They’ve always been good to me, and I appreciate it. I have fun with them now on my show. I have a radio show called Murdoch Mondays, if you can believe that. It’s an open line on anything, and we do have some good fun with that.
Who knows what I’ll do? I haven’t really decided. I still have a farm, but before I came down here on Monday, my bulls were all out. You can imagine: Spring is here, they wanted to go, and I had to fix fences before I came. So a lot happens. I don’t know whether I want to do too much more fence-fixing or not.
I just want to tell you all that I appreciate it all. I appreciate my family, I appreciate you being here and all the good times we’ve had. I have lots of them to remember. I’m sure I’ll get a chance to see you all at a fish fry or whatever you want to come to and visit us in Bruce and Grey and Owen Sound. I consider that the best place to live in the world. Thank you very much.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): To Bill Murdoch, the MPP from Bruce–Grey–Owen Sound, apology accepted.
I want to just take this opportunity on behalf of the Legislature and all the staff and members to thank you for your service to the constituents that you have represented, and the citizens of Ontario. Thank you very much.
MEMBER FOR ESSEX
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): It’s now our opportunity to pay tribute to Bruce Crozier, the member from Essex, and I’d like to call on the member from Algoma–Manitoulin, Mike Brown.
Mr. Michael A. Brown: I think the first thing—and I don’t know about the formalities today—is I’d like to ask for unanimous consent to wear the bow tie button of Bruce Crozier.
Mr. Michael A. Brown: Agreed. I’m sorry I don’t have one for everybody.
I want to say that I met Bruce for the first time back in 1993, when he appeared after a by-election in southern Ontario—as I might want to put it, the most southerly riding in the entire province. When you come from Algoma–Manitoulin—I mean, we wear shorts there in January. So we were rather surprised by Bruce’s arrival. We sat over there somewhere, Bruce, and enjoyed that. But as we went along, I got to know a little bit about this fellow Crozier who had come from Leamington. He had been a mayor, he had been on municipal council, he came here and has now served 18 years, if my math is even close to right. So he has contributed to his community for a very long time.
But the thing most of us remember is this: that shortly after his election in 1993, one of my constituents had been given a bow tie by probably the most famous representative of our constituency, Lester B. Pearson, who was also known for bow ties. Bruce wears that still, on occasion, and it means a lot to us.
Bruce has done a lot of things here. He has served three Speakers. During that time, he has set a record: He has served as Deputy Speaker longer than anyone in the province’s history. He has been a huge voice for the people of rural Ontario. I think any member of our caucus and probably any of the other caucuses knows there’s not a week that goes by that we don’t hear from Bruce Crozier about an issue in rural Ontario, and that is an important feat he has sponsored.
I had a list here somewhere of all his private member’s bills over the years, but he was recently successful in having one—and he was always complaining about this: He never got them to third reading. But he has just managed to get third reading on the Katelyn Bedard Bone Marrow Awareness Month Act. Congratulations, Bruce. It is a fabulous thing you’ve done with that and with representing your community.
When he’s not off at Indy or driving his own small red MG, or when he’s not going to the famous Lions game on Thanksgiving day with his buddies, he is always thinking about Joan and the family. I’ve gotten to know them a bit—Joanie maybe a little more than a bit—and Bruce, you’re a lucky guy.
We’re lucky to have known you here, and good luck in your future endeavours. I know we haven’t heard the last of Bruce Crozier.
Mrs. Julia Munro: I’m pleased to rise to honour our friend and colleague the member for Essex, who is retiring from the House. He has a long and distinguished record of public service to the people of Leamington, Essex county and Ontario. He served as a member of the council and mayor of Leamington, winning election to this House in a by-election in 1993.
In his community he is a lifetime member of the Kinsmen Club, holding a number of senior positions, including district governor and national director; it’s certainly through that that I first learned of him in terms of my connections with the Kinsmen in my own community. His work benefited many community organizations in Leamington and area, and I know he will continue to remain an active member of the community.
During his years as Deputy Speaker of this Legislature, he has served with honour and distinction and with the respect of the whole House. He has been a source of sage advice to me since I became an Assistant Deputy Speaker. He is also a member of a very small but determined minority group: the wearers of the bow tie. As the spouse of another member of this small group, I can tell you I hold its members in great respect. After October 6 it will be up to some other new member of this House to maintain representation for the bow tie community at Queen’s Park.
On behalf of the Ontario PC Party, I wish all of the best to my friend the member for Essex. He has always remained true to his beliefs, and he has served his constituents and our province to the best of his abilities. Most importantly, he is a true gentlemen who has conducted himself with honour and dignity at all times.
May you enjoy many, many years of happiness with your wife, Joan, and your children and grandchildren. I know you will have a lot more time for the Indy.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: To Bruce we say probably not farewell. I know that you’ll never be too far away from your friends and colleagues, so we know that many people here have you in good esteem.
I want to say a couple of redeeming things about Bruce that I have learned to appreciate over the years, and that is that he’s got a pretty good sense of humour. Sometimes in committee—we both sat on the opposition side at one time, and the other time you were in government—we get a little bit passionate about issues, and Bruce has always tried to maintain a level head through that whole process, not let emotions get to him and, quite frankly, use humour in a very disarming way. I think that’s something that some of us—and I look in the mirror on that one sometimes—should be able to learn.
One of the things that I will always remember about Bruce, and this is just a personal thing, but my daughter was about to have her first child—our first grandchild—and Bruce came up to me and had heard about that somehow or other, and said, “Oh, you’ve got no idea. You have absolutely no idea what you’re in for.” And I thought, “Oh, give me a break. We’ve had kids. It’s a kid like any other.” He said, “No, no, you have no idea. Just wait until that grandchild is born.” And I look at my grandson Nathaniel, who is two and a half years old, and we have a second one, Victoria, who’s about six months, and, man, were you right about that. When it comes to grandkids there’s something about a connection that is just indescribable until you have one yourself, and you’re the one that pointed that out to me.
As Deputy Speaker, always fair-minded; never allowed partisan politics to get in the way of what it is to be the Speaker or the Chair. That’s something we thank you for, Speaker, because we owe you and we owe Bruce and others a great debt of gratitude for being the officials of our little ring match that we have here every now and then.
I just want to say on behalf of Andrea Horwath and the New Democrats that we wish you well and we say to you, Godspeed in your retirement.
Mr. Bruce Crozier: I want to thank Mike and Julia and Gilles, and all of you for being here this evening to send some of us off.
I’m one who believes I’m not the judge of what I do, either in here or out there. It’ll be my constituents at home who make that decision and it’ll be my colleagues in here who make that decision, so I’m not going to dwell on that.
But there are several things that I’m proud of. Private members’ bills were alluded to. It may be, I don’t know, a bit unusual, but I have had the success of three private member’s bills. One would obviously receive unanimous support, and that’s making the third week in June Ontario Wine Week—that’s spelled w-i-n-e. The second was the Chase McEachern Act, which involved the limiting or taking away of any liability with using defibrillators. That was kind of a semi-private bill, because it didn’t seem to be making much headway, so I asked Minister Smitherman to include it in a health bill. So it’s in existence as the Chase McEachern Act. And then, of course, as was mentioned, Katelyn Bedard. That was special. That was one that, with the help of all of you, received second and third reading in the same day, and that was a special moment.
Murdoch—where did he go? Murdoch is here somewhere. You said you got a little bit emotional, but you know, there’s a wager going on here on how long it’ll be before I start to cry. But I’m not going to do that.
The greatest honour I have had, of course, is being elected to this place, and all of us share in that. The greatest honour inside the Legislature was to be nominated Deputy Speaker and to serve in the chair for seven and a half years. By the time it comes around, it will be almost eight, and depending on when the government comes back, I might have a full eight; you never know. Because technically the Speaker and I, I understand, hang on until new replacements are made for us.
There are so many people to thank. You have to be careful about naming anybody, but certainly the citizens of the riding of Essex South, where I started, and the riding of Essex are those that I have to thank for their support over the years.
The staff in my riding office over the years: I haven’t had too many; I’ve had long-serving staff. One is retired; one who has been there for a number of years is still there; and one just recently left—I wonder why. Also, the staff here at Queen’s Park: Premier, some of them have gone to your office, some have gone to ministers’ offices. I always encourage the young people in this place to improve their position in life and not hang around with an old guy like me, that there’s no real future in that.
Of course, the staff in the precinct: That has been mentioned, too; Murdoch referred to that. I can say especially, because of being Deputy Speaker, to the clerks at the table—it was Claude DesRosiers when I first arrived here, and Deb Deller was the Deputy Clerk—Deborah, you and your staff have certainly given me sage advice from time to time, and I hope I listened to you at the time.
My colleagues on both sides of the House, I have to thank you all. I can’t think of anybody in here with whom at some time or another I haven’t shared a laugh or a story or a simple greeting, or maybe condolences, with each other—those things that our families endure.
I want to thank the three Speakers I’ve had the honour to work with. The Honourable Alvin Curling, the Honourable Mike Brown and the Honourable Steve Peters were great Speakers to work with. Speaker Peters and Speaker Brown have heard me say many times that as the Deputy Speaker you’re kind of like the backup quarterback in football: You don’t want anything to happen to the quarterback, but you do like to get into the game every once in a while. They have allowed me to do that.
To my family: Of course, without their support, you just can’t do this job, from our daughter Nancy, her husband Dave, Emma—who most of you have heard about in here—and Adam to our son Dave, his wife Jolean, Benjamin, Cowan and Cate. They’ve all been very supportive. I want to tell you one quick story. Emma, who’s 10, on hearing that I wasn’t going to be running again, said to her mom, “I’m sorry because I can’t now tell my friends how important my grandpa is.”
I choked up a bit.
Mr. Dave Levac: I won.
Mr. Bruce Crozier: Yes.
And to my wife of almost 50 years—Gerry, how many days, 18,000? Holy cow. She’s a hero. In November, we’ll have been married 50 years.
Mr. Bruce Crozier: Yep. Actually, she wasn’t born when we were married—it was arranged—because she’s quite young. But she has shared every part of my public life, and you cannot do it without the support of your family and, if you have one, a spouse. Joan reminded me way early on that if there ever comes a time when you consider it a right to be in the Legislature rather than a privilege, it’s time to quit. I still think it’s a privilege, and I love you, Joan.
One last thing: When I came here almost 18 year ago, the day I was sworn in—December 14, 1993—Deborah Deller, the Deputy Clerk, brought me in because I had come in in a by-election, so I didn’t have anybody else around. I was going to be led in and introduced to the Legislature. Deborah brought me in and told me what I was going to have to do. I asked her to leave me alone standing right over there so I could look around this place and just soak up what a privilege it is to serve here. Deborah, I’m going ask you one other more thing: Tomorrow—
Mr. Bruce Crozier: Answer that call, please.
Tomorrow, I’d like you to bring me up here again—
Mr. Bruce Crozier: That’s not my phone.
Mr. Bruce Crozier: Not my phone. It’s got me off track. But come with me tomorrow, walk me in here, and leave me here. Okay?
To you, Premier: For the leadership you’ve given to me, it’s been a privilege to serve with you, and all of you. Thank you.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): To Bruce Crozier, the member from Essex, thank you for your service to this Legislature, the people of Ontario and your constituents.
MEMBER FOR CHATHAM–KENT–ESSEX
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I’d now like to ask the member from Lambton–Kent–Middlesex to begin our tribute to Pat Hoy, the member from Chatham–Kent–Essex.
Mrs. Maria Van Bommel: Thank you very much, Speaker.
I’m going to let other people talk about Pat’s political career of 16 years as the MPP for Chatham–Kent–Essex. I want to talk about Pat the father, the husband, the proud grandfather, the community advocate and fellow farmer. Pat has a long history in the agricultural community that I think a lot of you may not be aware of. He was heavily involved in the Federation of Agriculture at the local and the provincial levels. That’s actually where I met that little guy. Then he was also a director for the corn producers.
Pat has been married to Deb, who is here with us tonight, for 39 years. He always tells us that they were childhood sweethearts and that he refers to her as Little Debbie. I don’t know if she’s aware of that at all. But he always lets us know how much he really cares about her and how important she is to him and to his life and to his work as an MPP.
Together they have had two children, Ryan and Erin; Erin is married to Scott. Between them, they have managed to build a great family relationship. I see that so very often when I talk to Pat and in the stories that he tells. Anybody who knows Pat and has ever hung out in the Van Brat knows that Pat has this great dry sense of humour. He could be a really good Bob Newhart if he tried; it might be a second career for him, or a third or fourth.
Pat is a Beatles fan and he’s an avid collector of their memorabilia. But when I think of Pat and the things that he’s done, I think his greatest day was when his grandson Trent was born and he and Deb became grandparents. We all know what it’s like to be grandparents, if you’re a grandparent and you walk around with your photos at the ready, but from the day that Trent was born, the photos and the stories started, and they continued. And then when Macy came and joined in, the stories just continued from there.
Pat, I wish you and Deb all the very best. Your family is waiting for you. I love you both.
Mr. Toby Barrett: It’s truly an honour to recognize the dedication and the perseverance of the member from Chatham–Kent–Essex and what you’ve brought to this Legislature on behalf of your people. I’ve had an opportunity to work alongside Pat Hoy, especially for the last eight years. In 2003, Pat became Chair of the finance committee—and we were discussing this. Apparently, he has the record: eight years as finance Chair. I can speak for all members of that committee: You’ve been a great Chair. You run a tight ship, and that was appreciated by all; I can tell you that.
But you’re much more than a top-notch Chair and legislator and, as we just heard, a proud farmer and a true family man. As we know, Pat and his wife Debbie are proud parents of son Ryan and daughter Erin, and equally proud grandparents.
I asked Pat the other day if he’d be buying a motorhome and going down to Arizona or something like that, and it looks like the Sunbelt is going to have to wait, because Pat made it very clear he’s going to stick around for his grandchildren Macy and Trent. I just had a grandson arrive myself named Trent.
While family obviously takes precedence, those who know Pat recognize his skills in the politics of agriculture and farming as a priority. I think many of us know his previous history with the Federation of Agriculture, crop insurance, the corn producers and as agriculture critic. He’s worked with the rural caucus, attracting doctors to rural areas and fighting the closure of schools.
But Pat’s work as transportation critic, and we all know this story—ensuring the upgrades for that section of the 401 down his way; it had the moniker at one time of Carnage Alley. As well, his school bus safety bill received unanimous approval. Congratulations for that. I think everyone knows that story as well.
So thank you, Pat. Thank you for 16 years of service. You will enjoy getting back to your family and getting back to the land after the sacrifice you’ve made being away from your family for 16 years. I will say, people are going to miss you when they ride the bus and ride the plane on the finance committee, with his continuous drone of anecdotes and stories and wisdom. That will be missed on finance. Thank you, Pat.
Mme France Gélinas: It’s my pleasure to add a few words to Pat’s retirement, the member from Chatham–Kent–Essex.
I first heard about him leaving the Legislative Assembly through the media, actually, and what I read was so much in line with the man that I have gotten to know. His office is just across the hall from mine, so we wave good morning to each other quite regularly. He said that he wanted to spend more time with his family, and I knew that to be true—just the way he cares about his family, the way he talks about his family, and I can see where the drive to spend more time with them and less time here could be very real.
I also had the pleasure to sub in at the finance committee where Pat was Chair, and there again, you can see the gentleman in action. Sure, he runs a tight ship: We had committee business that we had to go through. But at the same time, he did it in such a polite way. I happened to bring forward amendments that may not have been exactly on, so I was told, but he allowed them to be debated and he allowed people to speak on them so that people from all sides of the House would better understand why we had brought such amendments and what we were trying to do with this.
Obviously, everybody will remember him for the school bus safety bill. First, I didn’t know it was you who had brought this forward, but it’s very much in character with the man that you are. I always stop for school buses, but I will be thinking about you whenever I do it, from now on—and there are many, many on the rural roads where I live.
It was a pleasure to get to know you. Happy retirement. Do enjoy your family. You’re a lucky man.
Mr. Pat Hoy: Thank you to all of my colleagues for those kind words. It has been an honour and a privilege to represent the people of Essex–Kent, and later Chatham–Kent–Essex—the Essex portion being Leamington.
Deb and I sincerely thank the voters for their support over the last 16 years. One can never predict how long they will be in this place. As I like to say, we’re up for review every four years. The people of Chatham–Kent–Essex and Essex–Kent have seen fit to send me here four times, and I really appreciate their faith in me.
I thank my loyal staff. They have spent many years with me. They work tirelessly for me and on behalf of the constituents in Chatham–Kent–Essex and Essex–Kent. I named them here the other day because they were in the House, but I had some former staff, Caryl McCabe, Jamie Rylett, Marie Anne Ouellette and Mary Jo Sonneveld. They weren’t able to be here the week before last. Jamie reminded me today that I had promised him when I hired him that I would try to win two elections. I don’t remember making that comment, but I won four, and he was kind of giving me a jab about that.
I want to thank my riding association for their support and hard work. Many of them have been with me over these 16 years, and others on that association have worked when we had no member and when we had the member previous to that, so some of them have been there for 25 years and longer.
Debbie and I want to thank the Sunday group. Way back when I decided I would run, in 1993, I called a group of friends and asked them to help me. We met one Sunday every month for over a year and a half. They are Marc and Marg Roszell, Lynn and Judith Girty, Alan and Donna Jean Pollard, Ed and Carol van de Wynckel, Brian and Shannon Prince, Armand and Annette Barrette and Mike and Marie Anne Ouellette. Some of them have been with me, as I said, since 1993. We are indeed friends forever.
I want to thank my dad and Dorothy. We farmed together, my dad and I, and I went to dad and said, “I’m thinking of getting into politics.” I don’t think he was totally surprised, and he became my biggest supporter. He did everything he could to advance my name and my career.
I want to thank our son, Ryan. Ryan is a teacher here in Scarborough. One of the things I remember most about his help on the campaigns—and he helped on all of them—was in the 1995 election. The campaign was 40 days, I believe, and I would be very, very tired, walking and walking and walking, and I’d be ready to go home from going door-knocking, and Ryan said, “We’d better do this street. We’ll just go down to the cul-de-sac and back. You don’t want to lose by 50 votes, Dad.” So he kept pushing me and pushing me to do more.
It has been mentioned that our daughter Erin and Scott have given us two wonderful grandchildren, Trent and Macy, and she also worked on my campaigns.
I met Lyn McLeod here a couple weeks ago, and it was so joyous for me to meet her. She is a fine, fine lady. We had a good chat. She came to my nomination, and she, like all of us here, put her heart and soul into her career.
I want to thank the Premier for his vision for Ontario, and I want to thank you for your promise kept to make my bus bill a reality. For those of you who might not know, I sat in opposition, and I had a private member’s bill. I kept championing that bill for eight years, and finally in the ninth year—through your help, Premier—it was passed, and it saves a lot of lives.
I want to thank all of my colleagues here, each and every one of you. We have made great friendships. I know that you do your best here each and every day. I think we have some of the finest people in government that the province has ever seen.
I want to also thank a girl I met when I was in grade 3. I want to thank Deb. She has done so much for me through my career; she is indeed my biggest supporter. I don’t think anyone really realizes how important a spouse is until you’re actually elected. You might think you know, but until you’re actually elected, no one really knows the role of a spouse, and I love you so much. We will celebrate our 40th anniversary next year, and we will spend it together.
Mr. Pat Hoy: Other years, I’ve been here.
When I came here and I made my maiden speech, I was extremely nervous, but I did walk around the building and took the whole atmosphere in the rooms into myself, in awe. On the front of this building the word “agriculture” is engraved, along with some other fine words, and I just ask the members now and into the future to remember the importance and the prominence that agriculture deserves in our society.
Speaker, I feel very grateful to have served here in the people’s place. I always did my best, and I tried hard each and every day. I thank the voters who sent me here time after time, and to all of you I say thank you, thank you, thank you.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Pat Hoy, the member from Chatham–Kent–Essex, thank you for your service to the people of Ontario, and thank you for your service to the constituents that you represented. We wish you all the best.
MEMBER FOR GLENGARRY–PRESCOTT–RUSSELL /
DÉPUTÉ DE GLENGARRY–
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I’d now like to ask the member from Brant to begin the tribute to our good friend Jean-Marc Lalonde, the member from Glengarry–Prescott–Russell.
Mr. Dave Levac: Merci beaucoup, monsieur le Président. That’s it, Jean-Marc. That’s about the best I’m going to do right now. I don’t want to continue to insult the French. I am French, and I am relearning my language, but I’ll be back.
I consider myself extremely lucky, privileged and honoured to pay tribute to our friend on behalf of the Liberal caucus, the member from Glengarry–Prescott–Russell. Two expressions come to my mind: a class act, and a gentleman and a gentle man. This gentleman is a consummate francophone. He has been known around the world for the work that he has done for the francophonie.
But I want to start from the beginning. Born on August 19, 1935, in St-Pascal, he then moved to Rockland, which means he was born and raised in his riding. He had a wonderful municipal career, but before that, he married his lovely wife, Gisèle. They will be married in September for 52 years. They have two sons. Mario is married to Geneviève and their daughter Marie-Eve is 10 months old. François is married to Manon and they have two sons: Tristan, four, and Joshua, six.
His municipal career was 25 years—15 as the mayor of the town of Rockland. And 15 years as MPP. We’re batting numbers around: 40 years in public service to the communities in the province of Ontario.
He has some hobbies: bird watching. No, no, no. I’m going to let Steve Clark take care of that to explain, because he’s the youngest member of the Hockey Hall of Fame when it comes to Jean-Marc Lalonde. I’m going to leave the hockey alone because most people know about it and, quite frankly, the only time I mention it is when I want an autograph of Guy LaFleur.
He was the longest-serving MPP for Glengarry–Prescott–Russell. Two things I know that make it that way for him: I personally know that he makes over 10 to 15 personal phone calls every single day, seven days a week, and he has never been afraid to answer the tough questions. I consider him not only a colleague but a mentor and a friend.
I’m about to share with you something that is a secret. To the people of Ontario, to the francophonie of the world, it has been kept secret for too long. For many years, all of us have been subjected to this remarkable figure. A man who has righted wrongs and fought crime in the blink of an eye has come through this chamber. We’ve known him as two characters, as superheroes: Batman and the Flash. It was Jean-Marc Lalonde.
I want to say that he has indeed been a superhero to many. His commitment to his riding doesn’t need to be retold, but I want to offer you some of the things that he was able to accomplish: numerous eastern Ontario development fund projects; the Calypso water park; the environmental assessment for Highway 17/174; helping to establish the Canadian International Hockey Academy—world-renowned; the cleanup of the Hawkesbury CIP lagoons; eight new schools and 17 expansions and renovations of schools; and—this one, Premier, between you and me and the Minister of Health, I need to talk to you about my riding—three new family health teams and two community health centres; numerous sewer and water and roads and bridges projects; and many agricultural projects.
It’s amazing to know that a gentleman of this nature has the ability to connect to the people. There isn’t anybody walking down the street whom he doesn’t know by name. The dedication that he has given to his community is only equal to the love of his family.
I offer to him inspirational words that I live by. I see you in this, Jean-Marc:
Take time to think—thoughts are the source of power.
You, sir, are powerful.
Take time to play—play is the secret of perpetual youth—Batman.
Take time to read—reading is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to pray—prayer can be a rock of strength in times of trouble.
Take time to love—loving is what makes living worthwhile.
You, sir, exude love for your family.
Take time to be friendly—friendships give life a delicious flavour.
Take time to laugh—laughter is the music of the soul.
Take time to give—any day of the year is too short for selfishness.
Take time to do your work well—pride in your work, no matter what it is, nourishes the ego and the spirit.
You work hard, Jean-Marc.
Take time to show appreciation—thanks is the frosting on the cake of life.
This man says thank you to anybody who has done anything for him.
Finally, I leave with you a Gaelic blessing from centuries ago to you and your family:
Deep peace of the running wave to you
Deep peace of the flowing air to you
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep peace of the shining stars to you
Deep peace of the gentle night to you
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you
Deep peace of Christ the light of the world to you.
Jean-Marc, merci beaucoup.
M. Steve Clark: Il me fait plaisir de faire quelques observations en hommage à mon ami Jean-Marc Lalonde. Il est le député provincial de Glengarry–Prescott–Russell ayant servi le plus longtemps à ce poste.
Avant de se lancer en politique provinciale, il a occupé des postes au sein de l’administration municipale pendant 25 ans, dont 15 ans à titre de maire de la ville de Rockland.
That’s when he and I first met, when he was the mayor of Rockland and I was the mayor of Brockville. He had such a wonderful reputation among municipal officials in eastern Ontario. He was known as a man who would not just stand up for Rockland but would stand up and be a vocal advocate for eastern Ontario.
When we leave politics—and when I left municipal politics—you drift away from people. Last year when I was elected MPP and walked up to Jean-Marc, it had been many years since we had talked. We reconnected, and he gave me his big smile and asked me two questions. He asked me how old I was now, because there was a lot of to-do when I was a young mayor, and you know that well, Speaker. I told him last year I was pushing 50.
Then he asked me that second question, and for any of you who know the Legiskaters hockey team, he asked me, was I still playing hockey? I indicated I was, as you can see from a couple of scars from a little aggressive men’s league play over the years. Jean-Marc said, “You’re on the Legiskaters.” As I said a couple of weeks ago, I think I’m the only person ever in Jean-Marc’s career that he signed without having a tryout. I’m honoured that I made the team without a tryout.
This place, as we all know, is extremely partisan, but Jean-Marc, with the Legiskaters hockey team over his political career, has brought New Democrats, Liberals and Progressive Conservatives together. I have to tell you, as a new member, going through this place can beat you up a bit. But it’s nice to see ourselves outside of this place in the friendly confines of the sport that many of us have played since we were young.
I have to tell you that this man has the same passion for Glengarry–Prescott–Russell that he has for the game of hockey. On behalf of anyone who played—we had a tribute for Jean-Marc a couple of weeks ago from the Legiskaters hockey team, and I know that anyone who played on that team or was associated with that team thanks you sincerely. We’re pretty convinced that we can convince him to come back—not to sit in the place but at least to coach the team, Jean-Marc. I’m sure we can convince you of that.
I want to say just in closing that he takes the same role with the Legiskaters team to get all parties together that he takes in eastern Ontario. He’s such a vocal advocate for our communities and all eastern Ontario MPPs, and I’m sure the Premier will agree that Jean-Marc has always put not just the people of Ontario first, not just the people in his riding of Glengarry–Prescott–Russell, but certainly all of the people in eastern Ontario. Thank you for your advocacy, sir. Bonne chance, Jean-Marc.
Mme France Gélinas: C’est un honneur pour moi aussi de rendre hommage au député de Glengarry–Prescott–Russell, mon ami Jean-Marc Lalonde. Si jamais il y avait un concours dans l’Assemblée législative pour nominer un gentleman, moi, j’aurais voté pour Jean-Marc.
Jean-Marc est un ardent défenseur de la francophonie. Nous ne sommes pas beaucoup, les francophones dans l’Assemblée législative, donc on se serre les coudes un peu et on a su travailler ensemble pour faire avancer le bien de la province et la francophonie.
Jean-Marc, c’est un homme doux qui lève rarement le ton mais qui a su se faire entendre, qui est devenu la voix de l’Ontario sur la scène internationale à bien, bien des niveaux. Je fais partie, avec lui, de l’Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie. Peu importe où je vais, peu importe quel groupe, ils connaissent tous Jean-Marc et ils savent tous qu’en Ontario, la francophonie existe, parce que Jean-Marc le leur a démontré. Félicitations pour ça.
En travaillant, vraiment, sans tambour ni trompette, il a su faire avancer la position de l’Ontario d’une façon dont on devrait tous être fiers, tant au niveau local, provincial, national et international.
Bien entendu, on va se souvenir de Jean-Marc comme le député qui a fait reconnaître le drapeau franco-ontarien à la grandeur de la province.
Mme France Gélinas: Oui.
Il faut que je dise qu’il a été créé à Sudbury et levé pour la première fois à Sudbury. Il faut quand même que je dise ça, mais, Jean-Marc, les honneurs te reviennent à toi parce que c’est toi qui l’as fait reconnaître, notre beau drapeau franco-ontarien.
Son amour du hockey est légendaire et on en a entendu parler. Ça aussi, c’est notre ambassadeur partout où on va. On peut être au courant des scores puis on peut être au courant de ce qui se passe dans le milieu du hockey—on a juste à aller voir Jean-Marc; il nous met à jour.
Jean-Marc, je te souhaite plusieurs belles années avec ta famille. Gisèle, je sais que ça va faire différent de l’avoir à la maison tout le temps comme ça, mais je suis sûre que ça va bien aller.
Félicitations, Jean-Marc; tu vas nous manquer.
Mr. Jean-Marc Lalonde: Merci beaucoup à vous tous. Thank you, David; thank you, Steven; and thank you, France. Let me tell you, like my dear friend and colleague Dave Ramsay just said a little while ago, it’s not easy to say goodbye to this place. I’ve worked on this side of the House and I’ve worked on the other side of the House, and I have to say that I enjoyed every single minute of it. I wish I was 10 years younger. I wish I was 10 years younger because you wouldn’t be celebrating or saying goodbye to me with the others tonight. I would still be here for sure because, as I said, I really enjoy what I’m doing.
It’s been a privilege and a pleasure to serve the people of Glengarry–Prescott–Russell, and also, I keep saying to my people down my way, I might be your member of provincial Parliament, but I’m also a member of the provincial government, so anything we do—we have to look after our own riding, but I have to make sure that the rest of the province does benefit from whatever we do here in the Ontario Legislature.
Dear friends, I keep saying that I come from one of the most beautiful areas of the province. After all, if you want to get to see the sun, the first one, just come down my way. You’ll see the sun before Toronto gets it because the sun rises right down in Glengarry–Prescott–Russell. And one thing also, I’m going to have the IPM this year, the International Plowing Match, and those of you who have never been to the far east, when you get down there, you’ll see how well you are served. You might do like the little goats there from Skotidakis farm after they come to Ontario. They just go back like that: “I wish I could stay in Ontario.” But you would say, “I wish I could come back to eastern Ontario, to the far east, in Glengarry–Prescott–Russell.”
Dear friends, as I said, I enjoy every single minute of it. I have been leaving my hometown most of the time on Sunday night, going back Thursday night or Friday night. But let me tell you, without the support of my wife, I wouldn’t be here today.
Yes, I was just counting; we’ve been married for 19,712 days. Yes, it is 19,712 days; I just counted. My wife, Gisèle, is over there. Would you stand up, Gisèle? I have to tell you that I was in hockey very deeply worldwide at one point. I’ll never forget, she kept telling me, “Jean-Marc, if you like it, go ahead.” In politics—41 years in politics; on the 8th of June, it’s going to make 41 years and I’ve never seen Gisèle telling me, “Are you not fed up with politics?” No, she encouraged me every time that I would do anything for the constituents, first of all, and I love—I love—giving the services to the people, especially the people of Glengarry–Prescott–Russell. And I go out of my way—Norm Sterling’s area; I went over there and I’ll be down in the Brockville area very soon. I’m here to serve the people of Ontario, and I love it.
I have two sons, Mario and François. I’ll never forget when I was travelling all over the world for hockey: One of them was five years old and the other one seven. For five years in a row, I was not at home at Christmas and New Year’s because the European national team came into Canada. I was appointed ambassador for five years, so I had to travel with them. That was the time they were coming down to North America; I had to travel with them. So my wife was taking care of my two boys and also my mother-in-law, who lived with me until she passed away at the age of 86. I forget the number of years.
Dear friends, yes, I have daughters-in-law who supported me, my brothers and sisters, and my staff. I have to say I have here with me today Lyse Desforges—she’s from here at Queen’s Park—and Christine Pelletier. Also, today, the fact that GPR day falls on the second of the month of June, we didn’t want you to miss any of our goodies from Glengarry–Prescott–Russell, so they drove up this morning. They stopped at St. Albert cheese factory to pick up fresh cheese; those people got it today, and I’ve got people here who came up. My employees Rollande Chenier, Jean-Simon and Rheal Filion all came up, really, to give us a hand today to make sure that you people would taste the good products of Glengarry–Prescott–Russell. By the way, you’ve got that yogurt cheese from the goats of Skotidakis. The goats are really fed in Ontario, so you should rest assured; you’ve got good goat yogurt.
I have to say thank you to my association, really, that supported me all the way. Dear friends, I kept saying politics and sports go together. If you don’t work as a team, you’ll never get anywhere. I’ve learned that in hockey. I was able to win just about any time that I got involved. And today in Queen’s Park I get to work with every one of you, no matter which side.
France just said it: Le drapeau franco-ontarien, the French flag, I never forgot—Decker, what was her name? The House leader?
Mr. Jean-Marc Lalonde: Janet Ecker—when Rick Bartolucci asked for a point of order when we debated the second reading for the flag—she asked for a big flag because we needed the support of everyone to have a flag on our desk. We passed it unanimously in this House, and I want to say thank you, thank you, to all of you for showing respect for franco-Ontarians.
Dear friends, as I said, there are a lot of people that I really enjoy. My adviser for agriculture right here: Anytime I want to hear more about agriculture, I go to Pat. Pat is an expert and my adviser. Carol Price is really the leading lady of this organization.
Mr. Jean-Marc Lalonde: I think my time has gone, but I just want to tell everyone again: Thank you very, very much for all your co-operation. I have to tell you that the mayors down my way—I have nine mayors, 10 with Ottawa, and I never forget how they all work together. One year we finished with a surplus; the Premier announced that at the AMO conference. I called all my mayors. If we were going per capita, some municipalities wouldn’t have much money. We sat together and I said, “How about if we start working together as a team? We’ll make sure that all the money is split properly for each of the municipalities.” It was done. Steve Peters did the same thing in his own riding. I remember we were the two ridings that did it, and everybody was pleased.
When it comes time for special projects or funding projects, we all sit together: “Would you support a project for Casselman or Russell or Hawkesbury or Glengarry North?” I have to tell you, Premier, that last Wednesday I made an announcement in Alexandria for the waterworks for North Glengarry. Everybody was crying when we made the announcement. Nobody was expecting to get this announcement. I had advised my people of Prescott and Russell—all the mayors—that my priority was North Glengarry. They all agreed. We support each other. This is what I call teamwork, and in this place the more teamwork we do, the better for all Ontarians, the people of this beautiful province.
Thank you again. I wish every one of you the best success. I love you all.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): On behalf of the Legislative Assembly, Jean-Marc, thank you for your service to the people of Glengarry–Prescott–Russell and to the people of Ontario. We wish you all the best.
MEMBER FOR CAMBRIDGE
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I’d now like to call on the member from Halton to pay tribute to our good friend, and a good Ukrainian colleague of mine, Gerry Martiniuk, the member from Cambridge.
Mr. Ted Chudleigh: It’s certainly a privilege tonight to take part in this debate. It’s an honour.
Gerry Martiniuk has always struck me as a very senatorial figure. He gives very sage advice, he gives very sober second thought and very sound counsel whenever you ask him for his advice. He was first elected in June 1995 to the riding of Cambridge, North Dumfries and Kitchener. Gerry, being a very conservative chap and economical, shortened that to just Cambridge—his economy stretches even to the alphabet, in using fewer letters.
Gerry’s passion has been for the Cambridge Memorial Hospital. Much of his career, as you read his resumé, focuses on that hospital. It started with the CT scanner, which he was able to get for that hospital. Over the term of his office, he has seen the budget for Cambridge Memorial Hospital double from the time he first got elected. That’s great for the riding of Cambridge that he works in and for the city of Cambridge, and it’s also a pretty good vote-getter.
When the doctor shortage loomed in the city of Cambridge, Gerry formed the Cambridge doctor recruitment program in conjunction with the chamber, the city and, of course, Cambridge Memorial Hospital. That is something that has caught on across the province. He followed up with a private member’s bill, Bill 13, and targeted patient-doctor ratios. In that bill, he also offered tuition breaks for graduating doctors if they went to underserviced areas, another idea that has caught on across the province.
The Kitchener hospital has been the focus of his questions, statements in the House, petitions and a private member’s bill. His passion for the hospital is unmatched in commitment.
Gerry also co-chaired the Ontario Crime Control Commission in 1997-98. He encouraged sweeping changes to the Young Offenders Act, and he supported the Safe Schools Act, which minimized bullying, another idea that has come of age in the province of Ontario. He supported the Comprehensive Road Safety Act, he worked for tougher impaired driving laws and he introduced an act to protect children from pornography, another idea that is certainly in vogue today. He encouraged opening up access to Ontario’s sex offender registry, another idea that is happening today. These are all initiatives finding favour with Ontario’s families, and are reflected in legislative initiatives that are current across the country today.
In 2007, he worked to protect civilian jobs of Canadian Forces personnel, another idea that has caught on and taken flight. He also worked on private legislation for diabetes and guide dogs, among other areas, and was honoured in 2007 by the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce with a lifetime achievement award, something that is certainly well deserved.
But Bill 155, which proclaims September 7 as Ukrainian Heritage Day, was perhaps Gerry’s crowning glory. That bill was passed in one day with the help of Donna Cansfield and Cheri DiNovo, of the government and the third party. The gallery was packed that day, indeed a very proud day for our member from Cambridge and for Ukrainian heritage folks from across the province.
Gerry is also a very astute investor, and I always looked forward to my little chats. I’d turn around to chat with him and say, “Gerry, what do you think is happening with the price of oil these days?” or “What do you think is happening with the price of gold?” Gerry will never actually offer his opinion, but he’ll think about it for a moment and say, “Well, you know, if Greece doesn’t do this or if Portugal doesn’t do that or the Chinese don’t devalue the yuan, their currency, then maybe this or that or the other thing will happen.” By and large, I have found that Gerry is not far off the mark most of the time.
We’ll miss you, Gerry. I will miss your sage advice, and will miss in you this place. Good luck, and have a great life.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: On behalf of New Democrats and our leader, Andrea Horwath, I want to wish you well, Gerry.
I’ve had the opportunity to sit in committee with you and be part of a number of initiatives that were sometimes started by you and other times supported by you, or other times in your job as critic. The one thing I note is that people who come into this place have different styles, and yours is one of no guff. You know what you want to do. It’s not about making a big show; it’s about making sure you put your points forward, and you do that well.
Your colleague spoke well of some of the initiatives you’ve put forward, and talked a little bit about your experience as an investor, and I appreciate that, being a very bad one. I’ve got to say that it’s always good to get some advice that’s better than what I got the day before.
I just want to say that it’s been interesting to listen, because what I’ve noted when we’re in committee dealing with clause-by-clause on bills, where you really get into the meat and bone of an issue, and Gerry gets on to something, normally you’ve got to sit back and say, “What’s going on here? Gerry’s on to something.” Then you’ve got to listen to the argument, because it’s an argument that’s thought through. It’s not just talking for the sake of talking, but for the sake of trying to make your point and, more importantly, to get the change you want. I think that’s something you do quite well.
Obviously, you’ve done a pretty darned good job in your constituency. You came to this place in 1995, if memory serves me correctly, to our demise and chagrin. To the exaltation of the Conservative Party, your riding association and your constituents, you were elected.
I note, in watching over the years, in conversations with you but also looking in the media, that you have a lot to be proud of when it comes to some of the accomplishments in your riding because, at the end of the day, that’s what this place is all about. We can get all excited about the wonderful things that we do here in the Legislature, but as Tip O’Neill says, politics is local. Tip O’Neill, for those people who don’t know, was the Speaker of the American House and wrote a book that is quite an interesting read. But his point is that everything is local, and that’s something you’ve understood.
I was a bit surprised, actually: I thought you were a lot younger. When I looked at your bio—and I’m not going to say what your age is, because you’re still pretty young—I was a little bit surprised. I don’t know what you’re using, but whatever it is, can you please pass it on and share it with some of us? Some of us need it more than you do.
I say, on behalf of New Democrats, job well done. I know that you may not be exactly retiring in the sense of not doing anything, because I know you have a law degree, and you will continue doing something when you leave this place. On behalf of all the members of the assembly, we wish you well.
Hon. John Milloy: It’s a great honour for me to stand on behalf of the Liberal Party and pay tribute tonight to Gerry Martiniuk, the member from Cambridge. I have the privilege of thanking him on behalf of our caucus partly because I’m his neighbour. My riding is just to the north of his.
I first met Gerry in our community on what we all like to call the circuit, where we go around from event to event to event. I certainly met someone who is very warm, friendly and thoughtful, and I’ve got to tell you, I think he knows everybody in the entire community. At the volunteer service awards, I swear, everyone from Cambridge gives Gerry a hug and a kiss. He seems to know his entire community, which I think is a sign of someone who feels very strongly and has had a great deal of experience, both municipally and, of course, provincially from 1995 forward.
The member from Kitchener–Waterloo isn’t here this evening; the member from Wellington–Halton Hills, who used to be part of Waterloo region, and the member from Kitchener–Conestoga are here. I think anyone who has served Waterloo region will know that it’s a different kind of place. It’s a bit of a hotbed of innovation. It’s a hotbed of creativity. We have a bit of a different political culture there. What that political culture is—and I see Ted and Leeanna will nod their head—is you check partisanship at the door. In fact, when you get elected, the first thing you learn is, if you want to make a lot of enemies around town, start being partisan, start being overly in the face of people. What you have to do is adopt a real attitude of teamwork, that we’re all part of the same team and that we’re all here to work for the community. I’ve got to tell you that Gerry’s style fit in so well there in Waterloo region. Although I know Gerry is a very proud Progressive Conservative, Gerry did not wear his partisanship on his sleeve. He was someone who always put the interests of the community first and always put Waterloo region first.
As I mentioned, he has a proud municipal background. He was a city councillor. He then moved on to provincial politics, where he has worked very, very hard for the interests of our community. He has seen Waterloo region transform into, really, an economic powerhouse, and he has been involved in a number of issues. Ted Chudleigh, the member from Halton, spoke about them in terms of health care and in terms of transportation. One that he didn’t mention that I know we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention is Gerry’s accomplishment of the establishment of the school of architecture in Cambridge, a satellite of the University of Waterloo, an initiative that I know Gerry was involved with and was very proud of.
The thing about Gerry is he has this ability to link Queen’s Park to the community. When we come to Queen’s Park and see private member’s time and petition time, it seems to be a little bit of inside baseball. But Gerry had this knack, and you just have to follow the local media, of being able to turn causes that he was promoting at Queen’s Park into causes in our community. It seemed that every Friday, as I was driving around, I’d turn on the radio and hear Gerry being interviewed about a new petition that he had started in his constituency office, asking people to come sign it. Oftentimes, it was not one that I’d want to sign, but he was certainly getting lots of publicity.
Of course, the other area where he was able to make a real mark, both in our community and in Queen’s Park, was in the area of private members’ bills. I know Ted Chudleigh shared a few of them, but I have a longer list: strengthening Ontario’s tobacco laws for minors, protecting the civilian jobs of military personnel, requiring elementary school staff to be trained to monitor children with diabetes, allowing people with a wider range of disabilities to use guide dogs in public, and of course Ukrainian Heritage Day, Bill 155, which he was so proud to see passed.
I want, on behalf of this side of the House, to do a number of things tonight: to wish Gerry well, obviously, in his retirement; to thank him for his service to the community and his service at Queen’s Park; and also to say on behalf of all of us in Waterloo region, Gerry, although we know you’re retiring from politics, we know that you’re not retiring from public service. I know that you’re going to continue to make a strong contribution to Cambridge and to all of Waterloo region. Thank you.
Mr. Gerry Martiniuk: Thanks to Ted and Gilles and John for those kind words. I’d like to dedicate what I have to say to my four children, Andrew, Kirsten, Seth and Ivan. My speech will now be a lot shorter, because you’ve itemized all the things I was going to say. You’ll be pleased to hear that.
It’s with mixed emotions that I rise today and make my final statement in the Ontario Parliament after 16 years and look forward to my future. With my pending retirement from provincial politics, I want to take the opportunity to thank my PC colleagues, all members of the Legislature and all civil servants, including the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly and her staff, for their support and guidance over the past 16 years. Together I believe we have made our province and country a better place to work and raise families.
I wish to pay tribute to the people of Cambridge and North Dumfries, who have enriched my career immensely. The suggestions and feedback received from my constituents have assisted and motivated me in representing their needs here at Queen’s Park.
My career has been enriched thanks to so many partners, including the political, business and labour leaders from my riding who have worked with me on many occasions to bring about positive change for our community.
I leave my position as MPP with many memories, not the least of which is the repeated efforts by myself and my community to see the commissioned, legally ordered expansion of Cambridge Memorial Hospital completed. It’s been a committed and arduous effort that spanned most of my 16 years as an MPP, and one that continues today. But one thing I’ve learned in politics is that it’s persistence, not good looks, that counts.
In my role as MPP, I have continued to be impressed with the dedication of volunteers in my community. I’m so proud of the many volunteers who give of their most precious commodity, their personal time, for the benefit of our community.
During my years as MPP, I’ve celebrated much growth in the riding, including a substantial and rapid increase in population, new schools, additional long-term-care beds, increased hospital operating funding, increased grants to our municipalities and the establishment of the University of Waterloo’s school of architecture. With the assistance of many partners, including the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, I established the Cambridge and North Dumfries doctor recruitment committee in an attempt to solve the severe doctor shortage that was being felt by our community. Since its inception in the year 2000, they have recruited over 59 new family physicians to our community, and the waiting list is now very short indeed.
Sometimes ideas are embraced, and other times they are not. On one occasion in 2007, I introduced a private member’s bill to protect civilian jobs of Canadian Forces reservists who volunteer for active peacekeeping duty. I prompted the government to adopt the idea. There was agreement, and soon after the government introduced legislation similar to that which I had proposed, as a private bill would not have been passed in time, even if it did pass third reading, simply because the contingent from Ontario was leaving within two months. Today, thousands of brave and deserving military reservists are guaranteed job protection.
More recently, with the support of three parties, we celebrated the passing of a bill that establishes that September 7 of each year be proclaimed Ukrainian Heritage Day. Though not all private bills are passed into law, they do serve to raise the awareness of issues that are important in Ontario. A few of my own bills that come to mind: a proposal for the use of anti-porn Internet filtering software on computers in schools and libraries; a proposal to have elementary schoolteachers trained in the monitoring and treatment of children with diabetes; and a proposal to make it illegal for persons under 19 to buy and smoke cigarettes.
In closing, I would like to express what an honour and privilege it has been to serve as a member for Cambridge and North Dumphries. I thank my constituents and the members of the Cambridge Progressive Conservative Association for their loyalty in supporting me for four elections over 16 years. As none of my success would have happened without the assistance of my friends and work associates, I thank you, Maria Pimentel, Carol-Ann Nugent-Breton, Joyce Buell, Karen Kroezen, Martin Gamble, Nadine McCormick and Jag Riyait.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Mr. Martiniuk, on behalf of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, we want to say thank you for your service to the citizens of Cambridge and the citizens of Ontario. We wish you all the best in your future endeavours.
MEMBER FOR PICKERING–SCARBOROUGH EAST
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I’d now like to call on Minister without Portfolio Gerry Phillips to lead the tribute to the member from Pickering–Scarborough East, Wayne Arthurs.
Hon. Gerry Phillips: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Just because of something that Bruce Crozier and Pat Hoy said, if you will allow me: I love my wife, too.
I was looking very bad there. I would have been in big trouble, and rightly so.
I’m honoured to have a chance to say a few words about my good friend Wayne. Working and living in Toronto, you knew about a very impressive mayor on the east end of Metro, the mayor of Pickering. When I think of Wayne Arthurs, one word comes to my mind: solid, a very solid individual. He was on the Pickering council, I think, from 1982. You were mayor, Wayne, from 1988 to 2003—I think the longest-serving mayor of Pickering. I can’t tell you how happy we were when we were able to persuade you to run provincially. Wayne had a fabulous reputation as a mayor in a rapidly growing municipality, with all of the challenges of it.
Wayne got elected here in 2003, and then I was lucky enough to have him as my parliamentary assistant. I was Chair of Management Board at the time and I couldn’t have asked for better help than Wayne provided. Nobody around here, in my opinion, Wayne, is more solid than you are. Wayne was just a great help to me.
People don’t even realize some of the things that Wayne did. He did a study called Doing Business with the Ontario Government. Many of us go out and talk to businesses and they say, “I don’t know how to do business with the government.” So Wayne went out and did a terrific study, entitled Doing Business with the Ontario Government, that we still use to this day. We travel around the province trying to help businesses understand how to do business with government.
Wayne then became the parliamentary assistant to finance, which is a pretty good, a pretty important position. He did some great work on pensions and things like that, which we’ve now built into our legislation.
Wayne’s the kind of guy I love to work with. Around here, when problems come at us, some of us can kind of magnify the problems. Wayne gets at the problem. He doesn’t panic. He brings a calmness to it. He’s looking for a solution. He kind of peels back the irrelevant and the smoke, lays out the problem and comes to a solution. Wayne, I really appreciate that; recently we worked together on a committee. That’s an enormous talent of yours, to find solutions to problems that lots of us kind of want to wallow in for a while; you want to get on and solve them.
He and his wife, Susan, are terrific. They’re planning and living the ideal life, in my opinion—I’m living the ideal life, too, but—
Hon. Gerry Phillips: I’m going to have a little more time to visit you and Susan in Arizona. But they are the perfect couple. Susan’s sitting back there. It’s great to see you, Susan. You’ve been a great help to Wayne.
Wayne, I hope you leave here with a terrific sense of satisfaction, not just for what you’ve accomplished here but for what you’ve done out in Pickering for the community. As I say, in my opinion, there’s no one around here more solid than Wayne. Nobody can find solutions better than you do.
On behalf of our caucus, I want to wish you the very, very best, you and Susan. Thank you very much.
Mrs. Christine Elliott: I’m really honoured to join this tribute tonight to our friend and colleague Wayne Arthurs, who’s going to be retiring from politics after nearly three decades of public service at both the municipal and provincial levels.
We all know, Wayne, that you’ve been a tireless and ongoing advocate for your riding of Pickering–Scarborough East. I can also say, as a fellow Durham region member, that Wayne has been a very congenial person to work with, even though we haven’t always shared the same political views. We’ve even gotten along on political talk shows. So I think it really speaks to the ability you have to work together with people, not only to the betterment of your own riding, but to be able to see Durham region as a whole and the work that we need to do together, whether it’s with respect to the college, the university, our hospitals or to other regional issues where you’ve been able to see the bigger picture. I really thank you for that, as a fellow Durham region member.
I would like to say just a few words about some of the things that I know you’ve done here and the importance of that in the great scheme of things. I was very proud to support you in your private member’s bill with respect to visual fire alarms. I think that really speaks very well to your tenacity, in bringing it forward on three successive occasions, to be that tireless advocate for people who don’t always have a voice—literally, in this case—but to be able to be the voice for people with disabilities. It’s something that I think you and I share and many of the other members of this Legislature share together. We all come here wanting to be the voice for everyone in our communities, and I think you’ve done a wonderful job with that.
On a local level, I know that you’ve played a prominent role in many things, among other things revolutionizing and upgrading Pickering’s waterfront, and it really is a lovely place to be. I’ve visited it myself many times, and you’ve done a terrific job with that. At the provincial level, I know you were also instrumental in the redevelopment of the Pickering and Ajax campus of the Rouge Valley hospital. All of these have been important and invaluable contributions over the years to your fellow citizens.
On behalf of the Progressive Conservative Party and your colleagues here in the Legislature, I’d like to thank you for all the work that you’ve done. I wish you and Susan all the best in the many adventures that await you in the future.
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Wayne, where are you going? I want to say a couple of things on behalf of the caucus and our leader, Andrea Horwath.
A personal observation in regards to Wayne is that he and I have had the opportunity to sit on what we call the board of infernal economy, where we overlook a number of decisions about how this place is run, or is not run sometimes. I’ve got to say that in our time there, there were conversations—which I can’t use in this speech—that we had at the board that would be plenty funny to talk about tonight, but I will stay away from those particular conversations.
But I want to say this: Wayne, you’re one of those fellows, and it was said by Gerry, who comes at a problem trying to find a solution. That was clear in conversations that we’ve had at the board. It was certainly clear on the pension committee that we both sit on in regard to members’ investments. Unbeknownst to most people outside of this place, there is no pension for provincial members of parliament; we’re RRSP-based. Wayne, along with my colleague Ted Chudleigh and I, sits on the committee that oversees those people who make investment decisions for our measly RRSPs that we give to every month. But I’ve got to say that he has served this House well on that particular issue, because we’ve just gone through a process of picking a new organization to manage our RRSPs, and Wayne brought some insights that I thought were quite useful.
It’s what Gerry said earlier, that some people come to this thing wanting to do the glitz and the glamour. I’m sure that you do some of that in your own way. I don’t want to take away from things that you might have done in your riding that I don’t know about, but certainly you come bringing solutions. I’ve sat with you at committee and have observed that on committee you tend not to be too partisan, which I do appreciate, because I think sometimes that’s lost on some of us. We all have our politics, and come the next election, I will be as partisan as the next person—as will everybody else in this House—but in the times in between, I think the model that Wayne brings, and a few other members who are leaving this place tonight, are those attributes, which make for a good member.
I started off by asking, “Where are you going?” because I do know that you have plenty of interests and plenty of things to do once you leave this place. As we’ve spoken about before, you understand there is life after Queen’s Park, and we wish you well in your second life.
Mr. Wayne Arthurs: I’m going to have my glasses on and off. They don’t work as well as they used to.
First, some years ago, someone gave me some advice, and it spoke to the fact that a good political speech really has to be focused on three “be”s: Be sincere, be brief and be seated. I know the clock is going to take care of the second one, and if I don’t pay attention to it, your standing will take care of the third one, and I’ll use my four and a half minutes or so to be sincere.
I want to first thank Gerry and Christine and Gilles and, through them, their caucuses and our caucus on this side, for those tributes and for those comments and for the opportunity to work with you, whether it be on community initiatives or on committees, whether it be a standing committee, a legislative committee, a select committee, with all of those in the House I’ve had the opportunity to do that with over the time I’ve been here. That has really been a pleasure, and it has been probably, as many will say, the best part of the job sometimes for, as I said, the opportunity to do that across the floor in particular that may not present itself.
I want to say to the Premier, I came here in 2003, and I came here for a reason at that point in time. It was because I believed in some of the principles—or all the principles, but two or three primarily—that you espoused on behalf of our party at that time. It was that public service is an honourable profession, whether that’s in elected office or those in career public service. I believe that. I know that you believe that. I know the people in this House believe that. As well, you espoused that health and education, at all levels, were important to Ontarians. For me, they were important cornerstones of community, as I came from that local level. It was for those two reasons in particular that I chose to run in 2003 and chose to run again in 2007.
In addition, in being in this place, I’ve heard you say on many occasions—I’ll paraphrase—that what we do here should be to ensure that we leave this place better for our children and grandchildren. That’s the most basic reason and principle that I am here for, and I thank you for bringing those particular issues of leadership to this place and providing me an opportunity to work with you, with government, in this place, to move those agendas forward.
I want to thank the ministers I’ve had a chance to work with during my time here: Minister Phillips, Minister Sorbara, Minister Duncan—those finance ministers couldn’t keep a job; it was a good thing they had a strong PA—and finally, Minister Smith during this past year or so, as I’ve begun to wind down what I’m doing here as well.
I want to thank my wife, Susan, and my family for their support over the past 29 years this fall in continuous elected service. I really started slightly before that with an attempt at election to council in 1980, unsuccessfully, and I had the bug at that point; the virus took hold and it never let go. I thank my wife, Susan, and our four children, who are now scattered across this province and country, from Prescott to Oshawa to Waterloo to Calgary, Alberta, and our eight grandchildren; to see them now becomes increasingly a challenge because of the distances they live at.
My kids would be hard-pressed to remember a time when the name “Arthurs” was not preceded either by “councillor,” “mayor” or “MPP.” As I think back on those things, that’s the life they grew up with, and I know it’s the life that children in this place, the children of these members, grow up with. It’s part of what we do, but it’s part of what they do.
I’d like to have more time to be able to say thank you to my staff, the riding associations, both Pickering–Scarborough East and Pickering–Ajax–Uxbridge from the prior term of office, the volunteers and supporters I’ve had for three decades, the colleagues I’ve had locally, regionally and here in this place during these eight years. I can do that very briefly by speaking to three individuals, and not to any extent but to be representative of that support.
The current mayor of the city of Pickering, Dave Ryan, whom I coaxed and encouraged along, has become my successor, and whom I’ve been proud of and proud that I played a part in his career and what he’s doing for his community. And thus my colleagues provincially, regionally or locally.
Community volunteers and supporters: Rod Mason, who was there—he and his wife, Anne—from the time I first sought political office in 1980 and have continuously supported me throughout the time forward, as the town and the city of Pickering grew. So, for all of those supporters.
One other gentleman named Edmond Manneh, who, from 1988 to 2007, through seven elections, did that job that no campaign can get by without—they’ll often do it quietly and unseen. They do all the hard work after election day. That was my CFO, and each of us has to pay tribute as elected officials to the work they do. So, to Ed or Edmond Manneh, thank you for that.
My final comment, as my time has run out—and I’ve had some fun in the past few weeks, talking to some of my colleagues in this corner. Premier, you may not want to leave the same groups of people for so long in the same place, because if you look at this corner, we’ve managed to do some damage in the context of who’s leaving.
People have asked, “Why, at this point, are you leaving? You shouldn’t be ready.” Others will say, “You’ve been around too long,” but others would say, “You still have a lot to give, a lot to serve, etc.” Let me put it this way, if I could: The sun came out today; good weather, good friends, good health, goodbye.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): To Wayne Arthurs, the member for Pickering–Scarborough East, thank you. Thank you for your service to your constituents. Thank you for your service to the citizens of Ontario.
MEMBER FOR STORMONT–DUNDAS–SOUTH GLENGARRY
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I’d now like to call on the member from London–Fanshawe to begin the tribute to the member from Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry, Jim Brownell.
Mr. Khalil Ramal: Tonight, I’m privileged and honoured to speak on behalf of our caucus to pay tribute to my friend and colleague Jim Brownell.
Jim Brownell, as a young man, started his career as a teacher because he loved to educate people in Ontario, and he became a principal. After that, he thought he should give back to his community. He got elected as a councillor to represent his region. After a while, he became deputy reeve, and after a while, he became the reeve.
He also wanted to give back to his community in a larger scope. He served on commissions of parks and the library to manage many different issues in his region because he was deeply rooted in his community and he loved it. He also wanted to give back on a big scale.
In 2003, he decided to run for office and come to Toronto to represent his community in the same fashion and the same way because he wanted to give back to his community.
Accidentally, when he got elected—we were elected together in the same year—his office was across from my office. Also accidentally, we both had competitive assistants. Our assistants used to compete among each other about who was going to do more statements. They used to run down to Carol Price and ask her to give us an opportunity to speak in this beautiful and magnificent place. Quickly, we learned that the competition was not between me and Jim; I guess it was between our assistants.
Jim Brownell became a friend, and we used to share so many different stories. He came to my riding many different times to support me on many different issues. He came to the pioneer village; remember, he has a deep passion about the history of this province. I know, Speaker, that he came to your riding because he cares about many different issues concerning former Premiers who died, and that the graveyards should be saved and should be preserved because they did a lot for this beautiful province.
Jim Brownell loved history very well, and he maintained his connections to history. He knows about all of the historic locations in the province of Ontario in detail. He can tell you every location, the history of every spot and every pioneer village across the province of Ontario, with details.
My colleague Jim loves people so much, and he loves his students. He would very often invite them to this beautiful place and show them around and entertain them. Very often, he would bring them down here and introduce them to all of us. He speaks proudly about them. One of them is a police officer; one of them is a teacher; one of them works in the local community; and all speak about his accomplishments as teacher, what he did for his community and for the youth of this province.
Jim Brownell very often brought many different youth from different parts of the province who wanted to learn about politics in this place. He offered them all the support they need. He gave them the chance to learn about the process of this place. He brought them also to this place and engaged them with many different activities. He introduced them to all of us, to the caucus members. He introduced them in a big way and gave them a chance and hope to become a member of this Legislature.
Mr. Brownell had many different issues to deal with when he came to this place. He had an issue about British home children because he was connected to this issue through his grandmother, who came to Halifax in September 1891. He struggled with this issue. He introduced it to this House in the form of a private member’s bill twice until finally the bill was recognized and passed. Congratulations, Jim.
Also, everybody knows he introduced a bill giving Ontario one day in February as a vacation day, called heritage day—later on, it became Family Day, which is well known across the province of Ontario as McGuinty’s day—to give people some kind of break in the gloomy and cold weather to take a break and relax with their families without any obligations or duties.
Jim, on behalf of all of us in this place, I want to thank you for your friendship and for your passion about whatever you touch, whatever you deal with. We’ll all miss you. My best wishes to you and to your family and your wife. I know you like your grandkids a lot, and you love your wife, and you want to spend more time with them. Good luck; I wish you all the success.
Mr. Norm Miller: It’s my pleasure and honour to say some words about the MPP for Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry, Jim Brownell. Jim is a graduate of the University of Ottawa and holds a bachelor of arts, bachelor of education and a master’s of education. He was a teacher with the Upper Canada District School Board for 32 years. He also served his community for many years—14, in fact—as councillor, deputy reeve and reeve in the township of Cornwall and the township of South Stormont.
He found many ways to give back to his community, as was noted by the member from London–Fanshawe. In December 2000, he was appointed to a three-year term as commissioner with the St. Lawrence Parks Commission. In 2001, Jim was awarded the Ontario Heritage Foundation’s Heritage Community Recognition Award. And in 2010, his community honoured him with the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal. He was elected to the Ontario Legislature in 2003 and re-elected in 2007.
He is married to Paulette Charlebois, and together they have two daughters, Jennifer and Alison. He’s also the proud grandfather of Emma and Kate.
Jim has sponsored a number of bills during his tenure in the Ontario Legislature, and two have effectively become law. One, as was noted, is the British Home Child Day Act, which, with the assistance of the members from Leeds–Grenville and Parkdale–High Park, received royal assent on May 19, 2011; also, Bill 25, the Gravesites of Former Premiers Act, 2006, which was not passed into law but is currently being implemented by the Ontario Heritage Trust. As has been mentioned, he has a keen interest in history. I had the pleasure of meeting Jim in Gravenhurst when he came promoting his private member’s bill, and we had a very nice meeting by the gravesite of my father in Gravenhurst, where he knew more about the graveyard than I did.
Jim, I think, is a non-partisan politician who worked quietly on projects of interest to him and did make a difference. That particular private member’s bill, I have a particular interest in. I’m glad to see that it’s come into effect and look forward to it spreading around the province.
On behalf of the PC caucus, I would like to congratulate you on the good work you’ve done here at Queen’s Park. I hope that you and Paulette enjoy many years together in your retirement from politics and as you embark on your next career adventure, whatever that may be. So congratulations, and thank you for your good work.
Mme France Gélinas: It is my pleasure to say a few words to the member from Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry, Jim Brownell.
Jim was a schoolteacher before he joined the Legislative Assembly, but I would say that even after he joined the Legislative Assembly, he continued to be a teacher: in the way that he dealt with people, in his love of knowledge and of learning, and in his ease of sharing with it the people around him. I would say that he can best be described as a very nice man.
Jim understands that politics is local, and this is how he has lived his responsibility as an MPP day in and day out: by making his riding, making his constituents his number one priority in everything that he did, in the House and back home. He is what I call a grassroots politician.
He’s also a family man, and he has made it clear, since he announced his retirement from this House, that he wants to spend more time with his family and more time with his grandkids. I salute you for this. I think you’re making the right decision. Grandchildren are very precious.
Congratulations on the British Home Child Day Act, which finally passed. I must say that I learned a lot when I reviewed what had been said in the House about this act. I didn’t know what had happened to those children, and it was certainly a very worthy endeavour to recognize them with a day.
I read some of the quotes from when you announced your retirement, and you were proud of 55 projects that you have been involved with, specifically for your riding. This is quite an accomplishment. It goes from a local health centre to rehabilitation of the Long Sault Parkway to the construction of the Upper Canada Village Discovery Centre, as well as water and waste water projects, and the list goes on and on.
Jim, thank you for all of your hard work and your dedication to your job as an MPP. You will be missed.
Mr. Jim Brownell: First of all, I would like to thank my friends Khalil, Norm and France for your kind words.
I think back to the words that Khalil mentioned about being up in the west wing, the third floor of the west wing, and we certainly had some good times up there. I’m going to name the two folks who worked with us: Scott Bowman working in your office and Erika Mozes in mine. Yes, there was quite a competition for statements, and they were always down at Carol’s office. Carol Price certainly saw a lot of those two folks, and they certainly served us so well. It’s great to have had that opportunity to encourage young people to move onward and upward, and both those folks did.
To my friend Norm Miller: Yes, it was absolutely, absolutely a wonderful experience, and it was my pleasure to go up and meet your family at the gravesite of your dad, a great parliamentarian and a great leader in this province. I was so grateful for the opportunity to promote that bill. It never passed, and I’ll never forget when the Premier walked up to my seat when I was sitting over in the rump and congratulated me and said, “Unfortunately, your bill won’t go through, but the Ontario Heritage Trust will pick up this project.” I’m very appreciative of that and very thankful that we’ve now recognized over half of the deceased Premiers, and we will continue on with that project.
This evening I certainly want to speak, and I speak through the television tonight. My family couldn’t be here. Certainly I want to say to my mom, who I hope is watching—I know it’s past her bedtime; she is in the hospital, but she said she was going to watch, and if she’s watching I certainly say hello to her. She has been my rock and she has so inspired me, as did my dad. My dad has been gone for 38 years. He never saw any of my political experiences, whether it be municipally or here, provincially. He has been gone for 38 years. Earle and Catherine Brownell raised 12 kids; I was number 2. They worked extremely hard on the farm. The work ethic that I have tried to show in my life has been the work ethic that they instilled in me as a young man growing up on the farm. I can say that my mom has been a widow for 38 years, and with eight kids at home, Mom, you’ve done a remarkable job, and I want to say thank you publicly.
To my wife Paulette: We were—in elementary school, not sweethearts then, but we certainly developed a friendship after high school, and she has been a solid supporter. She’s not that interested in politics. I can tell you that there was a great sigh of relief in her voice and in her experience when I decided in 2000 to pack in a teaching career and go into municipal politics. She thought it would be clear sailing, that here we would go off and do all of those volunteer things in the community and enjoy some travel and whatnot, never to expect that I would be encouraged to run and in 2003 arrive here at Queen’s Park. But I can tell you, the day that she said, “Yes, I know it’s something that you want to do, Jim, and I’ll give you my full support”—that was all I needed.
For eight years she has put up with so much, as have my children. Jennifer and Alison have just been so supportive and so helpful, along with my son-in-law, Josh, and they have blessed me while I was here at Queen’s Park with two little granddaughters.
Premier, I’ll never forget when you came down to my home in 2007, the Saturday before the election. It was Thanksgiving Saturday when you came into my backyard with those 300 people assembled for a barbecue. When you looked at my granddaughter, I knew then that this probably would be my last session at Queen’s Park. It was your comments to me then and your comments to me after with regard to not only my family, but with regard to health—your health being important. As you know, I’ve experienced some problems this past little while with arthritis, and then that heart issue in 2009 certainly sent me for a loop. Those things are what played in my mind as I decided that it was time for me to say goodbye to this House, goodbye to the experience that the electorate of Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry and, before that, Charlottenburgh—for all those who could not get their tongues around that word. The electorate gave me that opportunity to come here to Queen’s Park and to share.
France mentioned the long list of accomplishments. Yes, it is a long list, and you know, there were some very, very trying times with that long list too, especially in 2006. That phone call on the morning when Domtar Fine Papers in my riding went down, the phone call the Premier gave to me that morning of encouragement and support, and the opportunities that I’ve had since to work along with my municipal partners and my federal partner to turn the city of Cornwall around—that’s something that I shall never forget.
I wanted to speak to Lou Rinaldi. I love what has happened in health care in my riding, and George Smitherman and Deb Matthews have certainly supported all that I’m so proud of in health care. But the rural roots of my riding and the opportunity to give back through the eastern Ontario development fund—Lou, I was an absolute proud signatory to that letter that we in eastern Ontario signed, and I can say thank you for giving me that opportunity to sign that letter, because it was wonderful.
I have gone on perhaps too long, but I want to say, back in my riding, the folks who have helped me out so much: Julie St. Denis, Sharon Kingsley, Heine Bruining, Ruby Antle, Francine Lamothe, Jeremy Gowsell, Kimberly Vass, Alex deWit—they have done super work in my office. And here at Queen’s Park: Erika Mozes, Andrew Mitchell, Craig Carter Edwards, Kerry Towndrow, Brian Kulick, Andrew Campbell, Christine Shaver, Amanda Mayer, Brittney Gellately—amazing young people.
I know Bruce Crozier was talking about encouraging those people to move onward and upward in life. I did that in education for 32 and a half years, I did it here at Queen’s Park, and I can tell you for those folks and the two summer students that I had, Stacy Makinson and Colin Munro—you have been amazing people, and you continue to be amazing people in my life. Thank you so much for that opportunity, and thank you to everyone in this House and in all the offices at Queen’s Park for what you’ve done for me in my eight years at Queen’s Park. Thank you very much. Merci beaucoup.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Jim Brownell, on behalf of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, thank you. Thank you for your service to the constituents of Stormont–Dundas–South Glengarry and, as well, your service to the citizens of Ontario.
MEMBER FOR NIPISSING /
DÉPUTÉE DE NIPISSING
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I’d now like to ask the Minister of Health, Deb Matthews, as we lead our tribute to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and the government House leader, Monique Smith—and remember, it’s “Moh-niq,” not “Monique.”
Hon. Deborah Matthews: There is so much to say, and so little time. I will use my two minutes and try not to do too much more than that.
When I think about Monique, I think of someone who has never, ever lost sight of what an enormous honour and enormous responsibility it is to have a seat in this place, to have earned the trust of our community and to bring the voice of our community to this place. How privileged we all are to be in this House today.
I have no doubt in my mind that that sense of honour and reverence for this place was instilled in Monique from a very young age by her father, Dick Smith, who of course was a former member here, and her mother, the truly wonderful and beautiful Marthe. Monique’s family is so very important to her. We know her as a House leader, as a minister, but I tell you, to the people who really matter, she is Auntie Niq: she is Auntie Niq to Katie, to Michael, to Sophie, to Beatrice and to Abigail, and those of us who consider Monique a friend enjoy the photographs of those nieces and nephews.
So who is Monique Smith? Monique Smith is a woman who gives it her all. She is passionate, she is determined, she is brilliant, she is tireless, she is tenacious: I know of no one who works harder than Monique Smith.
I could also tell you that Monique Smith has a wicked—and I mean wicked—sense of humour. I can tell you that she is devoted to getting for the people of her riding the very, very best. In fact, it can be argued that there is no MPP in the history of the Ontario Legislature who has delivered more to her riding in so short a time than Monique Smith. Let’s just look at what she has delivered: not just one, but two brand new hospitals—one in North Bay and one in Mattawa. But that wasn’t enough for Monique; she needed to deliver a new MRI to North Bay as well. She has delivered a beautiful new children’s treatment centre, One Kids Place, and I know that Monique’s heart is very much at One Kids Place. She has delivered a nurse practitioner-led clinic, and not just one but two family health teams—Blue Sky and one in Powassan.
Monique brings to this place the voice of her constituents for sure, but she I think brings a special passion when she speaks for those who do not normally always have their voice heard. I am thinking particularly of Monique talking about the concerns of people living in poverty in her community, especially people who are associated with LIPI—Lana Mitchell and others.
She has done so much for her riding, but she has done so much for Ontario as well. I’ve already used up my time, but I am going to particularly talk about the work she did as parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. I can tell you that when Monique took on the issue of quality of care in our long-term-care homes, she began a revolution. I can tell you with absolute confidence that every single person in long-term care in this province is getting significantly better care as a result of the work that Monique has done.
Hon. Deborah Matthews: She has left a lasting legacy not just in her own community, but also right across this province.
Monique, your future is bright. You are young to be getting out of here. Whatever the future holds, we wish you the very, very best. Please know Ontario is a much better place for you having been here.
Mr. Ted Arnott: I’m pleased to have this opportunity on behalf of our caucus to wish Monique Smith all the best in her pending retirement from the Legislature.
As we pay tribute tonight to the MPPs who are retiring from this place, I think it’s necessary to recognize the attributes, the work habits and the spirit of public service that brought them here in the first place. Successful MPPs are in general the ones who do their homework. They are the ones who pay attention to their communities, to their responsibilities as MPPs or ministers, as the case may be, showing respect for every single person and responding to their calls and emails, and doing their work and helping any way they can.
Our colleague Monique Smith certainly understands this. She understands the need to take an active role meeting and working with those who need her help. That’s what she did when she worked so hard in support of the North Bay Regional Health Centre, as well as the new hospital for Mattawa. That’s what she did when, as parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Health, she travelled the province to hear directly from those who live and work in our nursing homes, with a view to making things better. That’s what she did when advocating for literacy programs, poverty reduction programs and many other worthwhile causes and organizations too numerous to mention that directly benefit the people of her riding of Nipissing.
That’s what Monique did when, as Minister of Tourism, she responded to my request to visit Wellington–Halton Hills to help address a major tourism issue that mattered to our community. She took an interest, made the extraordinary effort to visit our riding, met with the staff at the affected organization and did what she could to resolve it. For that, I’m still very grateful. That’s the way it should work around here.
I was also very pleased when she came to visit Wellington–Halton Hills on another, more celebratory occasion, to officially open the Fergus Highland Games. To the many organizers and volunteers involved in the games, it meant a great deal to have the Minister of Tourism present.
I should point out that I was at that time Monique’s critic, but I wasn’t the most critical critic she might have had from our side; I like her too much for that. Elections have their time and place, but between elections I believe we have to work together to get things done. Because I wanted our tourism industry to succeed, it followed that I wanted the Minister of Tourism to succeed, and she did. I wanted this because it’s in the interest of our province and our people.
Throughout that time, I always found that Monique did her homework. She carried out her responsibilities with dedication and professionalism. She is straightforward and honest, taking her responsibilities seriously, whether in a House leaders’ meeting or the Board of Internal Economy. She did so in the best traditions not only of Queen’s Park but also of her own family. Her father, the long-serving MPP Dick Smith, represented the same riding that she represents today. One might say that Monique, born in the middle of her father’s first provincial election campaign, was born to serve. She has done that and she has done it very well.
Monique, it seems just like yesterday that you arrived. These eight years have gone by so fast. We will miss you, and we wish you congratulations and happy travels.
Mme France Gélinas: It is my pleasure to say a few words on the MPP from Nipissing, Monique Smith. Monique has had a very distinguished career as an MPP, whether we look at her work as PA to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, her work as Minister of Revenue or as Minister of Tourism. Then she became Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.
But for some unknown reason, she then got severely punished. What do I mean by this? She became House leader. She is such a nice person. Why would anybody punish her and force her, week after week, to have those long House leader meetings, which mean one on one, pretty much, with Peter Kormos? I don’t know what you have done, but you did not deserve that. You’ve had a wonderful career. You’ve advanced the causes in a list of accomplishments; the Minister of Health certainly went through a list of them. But then you have this. We’ll forget about this and focus on all the happy things you’ve done at Queen’s Park.
First of all, you were instrumental with the new hospital in North Bay and the hospital in Mattawa—the MRI. The children’s treatment centre in North Bay is equal to none; a very good job. Cam’s Place is certainly something that you can put your name on, helping people with severe disabilities. The PADDLE centre is also something that you have left your mark on. You’ve been generous with your time, with your knowledge, with your skills. You certainly represent women in northeastern Ontario in a way that I can aspire to for sure, and you have been a wonderful aunt to all your nieces and nephews. I know they will appreciate having you a little bit more accessible.
Merci beaucoup, Monique, pour toute ta contribution à cette Assemblée et à notre province, pour tous les efforts, ton temps, ton énergie. Félicitations. Huit ans, c’est beaucoup que tu nous a offert, et on te remercie du fond du coeur.
Hon. Monique M. Smith: In this job we all spend a lot of time at retirement dinners and graduations, where we get to sit and listen to long speeches about people that we sometimes don’t know that well. Tonight, I want to thank all of you for staying here until after 10 and saluting those of us who are leaving this place. It means a lot to us, and I think it is a reflection of this place that so many of you are here tonight to pay tribute to your colleagues, me among them. I appreciate it, and I know that all of our colleagues do as we head into the long hours. I just want to say thank you for that.
In particular, I want to thank my boss for being here tonight and for putting in the long hours, because you could have gone by now, but you’re hanging in there for the shorter-term gang. We appreciate that very much.
I was the one who was going to cry; I know you guys all had the bet that I was the one who was going to go fast.
I have been in and out of this place many times, but I’ve been in and out of this place in a paid capacity three times.
Hon. Monique M. Smith: Page: I was a page when I was 12. As I like to remind them as often as I possibly can, I was here as a page when Mr. Bradley and Mr. Sterling were here as members.
It makes me feel so good. I want you all to know that Mr. Bradley was, in fact, singing under his breath earlier during Deb Matthews’s tribute, which was so lovely, Deb; thank you. He was singing Helen Reddy, “I am woman, hear me roar....”. It was a classic moment and a special moment for me. Thank you to Jim for that tonight.
I returned in 1997 as Dalton’s chief of staff. He had just become the leader of the official opposition and asked me to join him as his chief of staff. What a privilege that was. I left McCarthy’s. Many wondered about leaving my professional career as a lawyer at a big Bay Street firm but I wouldn’t have done anything differently. It was a fabulous experience, and I thank Dalton for that and for the confidence he showed in me then and allowed me to serve as chief of staff with many other members, some of whom are receiving tributes tonight. I was here, back then, as a staffer and obviously had the privilege to serve with them as a member.
In 2002, I turned my mind—having worked with the Association of Canadian Publishers for a few years—to public service again as I was literally born into it, as Ted noted. I was born a week after my dad was first elected, so I was born into this. I always said, as a kid, that I would run some day, although I have to say, as a little sidebar, when my mother ran in 1987 and got totally beaten up but was happy to do it, and was a fantastic candidate, I thought, “I’d never do this.” But it comes back to you, as many know in this place. It comes back in waves, and in 2003, I just decided that, as Wayne said, what Dalton was talking about was exactly what I felt. I wanted to be here and be part of the team and work for who was a great boss and continued to be a great boss. I appreciate the opportunities that you’ve given me.
I was parliamentary assistant for four years to George Smitherman. I think I get a badge of honour for that. I certainly did it with pride. I loved my file of long-term care. If I’ve made a little difference in the lives of our seniors in long-term-care homes I’m particularly proud of that. I want to thank Louise Edmonds who worked with me throughout that and who helped through a challenging file. I think we did—we did—make a difference. It was great work.
It’s a crazy life we lead here as members of provincial Parliament. We do all kinds of things. We run the spectrum. It’s an interesting life. We couldn’t do it without a good family behind us supporting us. As all of the other members have mentioned this evening, having family behind you is incredibly important. My mom, God help her, has lived around the corner from me these eight years, has fed me on weekends when I had no food in the fridge, has listened to me complaining about the Nugget incessantly, and has just been a fantastic support and sounding board. She is the best mom anybody could ever have—let’s just be frank—and understands the game and understands the pressures. I think that helped me so very much. Thanks, Mom; I know you’re watching. And to my brothers, Joe and Paul, and their wives, Joanne and Christine, and, of course, my fantastic nieces and nephew: I am looking so forward to having a bit more time to spend with them and couldn’t do this without their love and support.
As well, I couldn’t have done the job that I have done without the support of so many great staff. Other members have taken the time to name them and I’m going to name them too. In Toronto, Mary-Anne Gilchrist started with me at the very beginning, and Michelle Rossi, Melissa Zanette, Phia Sanchez, David Palmer, and Karen Berkeley has been with me for a long time. Tom Allison, who is here tonight: Thank you, Tom. Adrienne Guthrie and Krystina Ceccarelli and David Spencer—and I know I’m missing a few, but these are fantastic young people who have great lives and who have done some great service for the province of Ontario. I thank them.
In my constituency office, Brooke Cranston and Micheline Fleming and Lise Anne Faubert Boissoneault and Kathleen Klein—the fabulous summer student for five, six, seven years—Jason Corbett, Amber Livingstone and Pauline Carriere, who have just been fantastic serving the people of Nipissing, doing an incredibly tough job in a constituency office, as we all appreciate, and really providing me with such great support and love over the years.
I have had some great friends here at Queen’s Park, many, many in this room. Many have provided me support. I have had some great friends throughout staff here at Queen’s Park. Lisa LaVecchia, Rod MacDonald—I’m not even going to look—Carol Price, Aaron Lazarus, Craig MacLennan, Debbie Kemble, Silvia Thomas, Tracy Sobers and so many more. I wish I could have just gone on and on with the list, but there were so many.
I had the privilege to serve as Minister of Revenue; Minister of Tourism, as Ted so kindly talked about; Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs; and as House leader. I want to thank France for acknowledging my pain. It has been a challenge. Dalton, I really don’t know what I ever did to deserve it. But it also came with the added bonus of a seat next to Bradley for the last couple of years, which has just been delightful. Love you, Bradley. You know it.
I have been blessed with the best deputy House leader ever in Gerry Phillips, and I thank him for that.
I’ve had the privilege in these roles to work with some incredible public servants in all of those ministries, some really incredible deputy ministers. We have some incredible public servants in Colin Andersen and Drew Fagan and Paul Genest and so many others who worked within those ministries who really give it their all on behalf of the people of Ontario, and we have to say thank you to them.
It does all, though, come back to the riding and what you do for your folks at home. I’ve had good friends—good friends in Toronto and good friends at home—who have supported me. I’ve had a riding association that’s incredible. It meets monthly, is diligent, is supportive, and also tries to convince me not to read the Nugget on a regular basis.
I want to thank Keith and Nancy and Jason and Carol Ann, Karen-Ann, Bunty and Anne and Bill and George and Randy and Peter and Barb and Kathy and Elaine and Paul and Holly and the others that I know I’ve forgotten; I’m going to be writing apology notes everywhere. They have all made my life so much easier and so much better, and they, in their own way, are serving the people of Nipissing and ensuring that we continue to grow and develop and continue to provide the services that are so essential to the people of my riding and to the people of the province.
I am incredibly proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish in the riding, and Deb went through the long list; I’m not going to do it again. But I didn’t do it alone. I worked with so many fantastic people at home who have been pushing forward their projects for so many years. As all of you know, we all have them and we all work with them every day. We can’t accomplish these things without the help and dedication of incredible people who are working in various agencies and boards and municipalities across our region and, in particular, in Nipissing: to my 11 municipalities, to the mayors I’ve had a chance do work with, to Al, who has made my life so much better over the last four months—Al McDonald, the new mayor of North Bay, who is just a delight to work with and who sat in this House for some time.
It has just been a privilege to serve. I feel that, as the Premier talked about, it’s always important to leave the province in better shape than we found it. I think that in my way, I have left my riding in better shape than I found it. I’ve worked very hard to do that and so I feel like it’s my time to go.
I want to say thank you to all of you for making this such a wonderful experience for the last eight years. I want to say thank you to the people of Nipissing for having the confidence in me to allow me to serve for the last eight years and to work hard and make things happen and to work with me to make things happen. It has been a privilege.
I know that my dad is particularly proud that I got to sit on this side of the House. He spent a lot of those 42 years in the wilderness, so I know that he’s looking down and smiling, as are a lot of his friends who have been incredibly supportive to me over the last few years.
I know that a lot of you are wondering what I’m going to do, because I’m kind of youngish to be leaving this place. I was thinking about that as I was thinking about what I’d say tonight. I wanted to end with a poem that I studied in high school and that has reflected what I’ve chosen to do with my life. I’ll give you the last few lines:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Monique, thank you. Thank you for your service to the people of Nipissing and the people of Ontario. All of us here wish you all the best in your future endeavours.
MEMBER FOR BURLINGTON
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I’d now like to call upon the member from Nepean–Carleton to lead us in the tribute to the member from Burlington, Joyce Savoline.
Ms. Lisa MacLeod: I’m really honoured to be able to speak about my mentor tonight, Joyce Savoline. I’m going to cry, so please, nobody tell anyone I have a heart, and I won’t tell anyone Monique does. I think it’s probably a first that she and I have both have shed a tear here today.
I guess that’s my moment of levity, because it is an emotional night for many of us. A lot of our colleagues here have decided that their path doesn’t include this place anymore. We spend day in and day out, we love one another, we sometimes don’t love one another, but at the end of the day we’re sort of a club, that 107 of us who come in here every day to fight for our constituents.
My colleague from Burlington has been doing that for 30 years. She first started out in 1982 when she was elected locally and regionally in Burlington. We talked often about that first campaign, that grassroots campaign that took her, with her community activist friends, to council. Joyce impressed me, obviously, because she has a lot of tenacity, and she became the regional chair of Halton.
True to Joyce’s nature, as I would later learn, although I didn’t know her at the time—I think at the time I would have still been in elementary school learning civics—Joyce did something that not many people do. She had such a belief in democracy and accountability to the public that she actually put her job on the line and she became the first elected chair of the Halton region. For that I credit her, for putting her constituents, and her values and their values, first. I appreciate that. It also reminds me of my colleague from Carleton–Mississippi Mills, who quite frankly did the same. I appreciate that Joyce did that.
She made another difficult decision in 2007, to come back to elected life. I know that she had enjoyed her time. And when she did—and many of the women in this chamber will remember at the time—for the first time in Ontario history we smashed that glass ceiling as females and we actually had 25% women elected in this chamber. I think that’s gone down since that point in time, but that was a very important time. I must say, I’m glad she did, and I know that all of my caucus colleagues are happy that she arrived here.
She is, as I mentioned, a steady counsel to me. We talk about everything from time to time, whether it’s about what I should do as a young legislator, what I should do when my daughter is not feeling well or what I should do about a staffing issue. I started calling her my Queen’s Park mom. As many of you know, my father has passed on and my mother is in Nova Scotia. So we were like family; luckily, you don’t get to get rid of me.
I’m going to miss her, and I know that that’s going to be my problem because other people need her right now. Of her 44 years being married to her husband, Ron—and I did unlock my BlackBerry to find out how many days that was; I didn’t take any pictures when I did it. It’s 16,000 days that she’s been married to her husband, Ron. Of that she has spent a great deal of her life in public. Her son, Rob, and her daughter, Natasha, have given their mother to public life all this time. So I think it is only fitting that when she actually had grandchildren, the light of her life, Olivia, and now her new grandson, Jack, they’ll get to spend an awful lot of time with Joyce. And we’re very happy about that.
Joyce is going to leave Queen’s Park with a well-earned reputation, Speaker, as will you. She will be known for her long view and her sage advice, particularly to me. She’ll be known for her selflessness and her dedication to her constituents.
She will be known also for her sense of humour. I’m glad the Premier is here tonight because I know when I give a hard question I’ve done right not by how excited your crowd gets but by how loud she laughs in my ear. And I enjoy it.
She’s got grace, dignity. She’s kind, she’s thoughtful. Every one of those qualities personifies Joyce, and on behalf of Sylvia Jones and the Ontario PC caucus, I’d like to petition the Legislature tonight that we, the undersigned, petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as follows: Our choice is Joyce. Can we try to get her back from retirement?
Mr. Gilles Bisson: Well, with a slogan like that, where are you going? Seems to me that some decisions have been made for you.
I want to say, what a classy person. I mean that in all sincerity. Joyce, you’ve been here for a while now, and my recollection of any work that I’ve had to do with you or observed you do in the House is that you’re a really classy person. You bring a certain dignity to this House that some of us, from time to time, should maybe take as an example. You bring a whole sense of calm to what you do, and I think that says a lot about you.
We had a chat in the opposition members’ lobby a couple of weeks ago, I guess, and I asked you, “Why are you going?” She sort of looked at me and said, “Well, you know what? I’ve got grandkids. I really want to go and do those things that I should be doing as a mom and as a grandma. I want to go back and do that and enjoy those moments with my family.” I think it says a lot about you in the sense that you’re grounded. You understand what’s important in life.
Yes, this place is important to all of us, and at a point it does take precedence over some of the things we do. But there comes a point when you’ve got to start making some decisions in life. As I said to you at the time, there are not a lot of people who get to do that choosing for themselves. I really envy your ability to make that decision, because it’s a very tough thing to make the decision to leave this place. If you watched the members as they gave their talks—Mr. Martiniuk and other members—I’m not going to go through all the names, Bill and others. That’s the reason I should never be Speaker; I forget names. It’s really tough, it’s hard, to make the decision to leave this place, because it is quite a unique job. It’s one where you really get to make a difference every day when you go to work.
People sometimes take this as a bit of hooey, but it’s true. You get up in the morning and make decisions about what you’re going to work on in regard to what’s important to your community, what’s important to your party and what’s important to this province, and you really do get to make a difference.
What I’ve observed about the work you’ve done is that you just sort of chugged through it with dignity, making sure that you know where you want to go, that you get to where you’ve got to go, and that at the end of the day it’s not about leaving the enemy on the floor; it’s about all of us getting to where we’ve to go. I think that says a lot.
On behalf of our caucus, I just want to say congratulations on the decision you were able to make; it says a lot about you. We’re certainly going to miss you, but I know your grandchildren are going to love it. Have a great one.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): The member from Oakville.
Mr. Kevin Daniel Flynn: This certainly has been, I think, one of the better nights I have experienced in the eight years I’ve been here. Listening to everybody this evening makes me think that it seems we spend four years beating each other up in this place and one evening lifting each other up. It really is a privilege tonight for me to be able to lift up somebody I have been connected with politically for 26 years—I counted, the other day—and that’s Joyce Savoline.
Joyce and I came into politics around the same time. Joyce came in a little earlier than me, in 1982, I think, and I joined her in 1985. I was still in my 20s then. That’s how long Joyce and I go back. So we’ve grown up together politically, really. We’ve seen a lot of changes in our region together.
I served with Joyce as a regional councillor. Joyce beat me in a race for regional chair one year, if you remember. Joyce became regional chair that year, and it was a privilege to serve under Joyce. We served together on the board of the children’s aid society in the region of Halton. Times were really tough in child welfare back then, and we worked together. There was a collegial atmosphere that existed on that council under Joyce’s direction, and when she was a member of that council, that you just doesn’t see in this place, and it’s unfortunate—I’m not being critical there. We didn’t always agree on all issues back then, but we were all working in the same direction, and that was largely as a result of the leadership of Joyce Savoline.
When I heard Joyce was going to run politically for the province, I was kind of hoping she’d run for this side. She ran for that side, and she has done a wonderful job since she has been here, always working, as I said, on behalf of, and in the best interests of, the people she has represented at any level of government.
The political theatre and partisan nature of this place are not always a positive thing. To be frank, for a few years it kind of changed the relationship Joyce and I had. It became a partisan relationship. But I’ve had the good fortune, through all that, to be able to fall back on the memory of somebody I have been privileged to serve with co-operatively as a friend—Ron and Joyce and Jan and I—for a long period of time, over 20 years.
When you think of classy, when you think of determined, when you think of somebody who just loves their family, loves their grandkids, when you think of somebody who loves their community, you think of Joyce Savoline.
So, Joyce, best wishes to you, to Ron, to Natasha, to Joshua, to Rob and to Becky and especially to Olivia and Jack. Enjoy your new life. Thank you for what you’ve done. If there’s anyone in this place who has earned a happy hereafter after this place, Joyce, it’s you.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): The member from Burlington.
Mrs. Joyce Savoline: Well, first of all, looking at the vintage of the folks in this room, like Monique said, I’m glad you’re still here but that you’re also still awake. It’s way past my bedtime, so I’m sure it’s also way past yours. Thank you all for sticking in and, Premier, thank you for being here tonight.
It was a very difficult decision, I’m sure, for all of us who made our decision not to run in 2011. In fact, at this point in time, it still feels like an out-of-body experience. It’s not quite real, and yet I’m here saying goodbye and listening to others say goodbye. My name won’t be on the ballot this fall, and it will be one of the strangest times for me, because in almost 30 years that will be the first time in an election at whatever level that I haven’t seen the name “Savoline” on a ballot. So it will seem strange, and believe me, it will be something that I will miss terribly.
It’s been such a privilege and an honour and with such humility that I have served in this House with the most outstanding people. We all come together, whether by chance or in a deliberate way, to create a path that creates the quality of life and makes good things happen for folks in Ontario. Sometimes we miss that little opportunity, but eventually, I think, after going at it a few times, we do get to where we’re going.
I cannot tell you the feeling I have walking into this building every day and thinking of the giants, the shoulders of the giants that I and we all stand on every day from the time this place was created till now and the kind of province that we’ve built together. It’s because of the differences in our ideas, I think, that’s created that healthy tension that makes Ontario the greatest place anywhere to live, and I hope that that will continue.
The people who give the biggest sacrifice, I think, are our families. Bar none, my family has done just that. They have given me inspiration. They have given me support. They have given me the time, to do this job that I love so much, this crazy job that all of us love so much. To them, I think that we can never begin to pay back what they have given to us.
It’s for my children, Rob and Natasha, that I think that I really began my political career 30 years ago when I wanted to make things better in our community of Burlington. Now I leave it in your hands to make things better for my grandchildren, Olivia and Jack. It will be up to you to continue to make things better.
Most of us come here from different backgrounds, varied backgrounds. A lot of us come here from immigrant roots, and I think those roots have given us a sense of how not to take things for granted, how to see an opportunity when it comes before us, how to seize that opportunity, how to create relationships and work together to make things happen. I think that we have that possibility here more than ever.
We have our differences as political parties, and we work hard during campaigns and elections to put our ideas forward. But it’s my hope that, more and more, as we continue throughout the years, once election day is over, we can park our politics at the door and make good things happen for the good people of our province, because without us those things don’t happen. Without that healthy tension, without that healthy debate, without that healthy moving forward, that can’t happen. The people of Ontario put their trust in us to be able to do that, to park our politics at the door and be able to move forward in a big way.
I’ve always said to my constituents and my family that we’re only as strong as the weakest member in our community. I think that’s something we always have to remember as we go forward, that we’re always working for that little guy, and how to move this province forward to do that.
My greatest role model was my mom. My mom was a great woman. She was a vital person. She went through many hardships, having to flee China at a time of war, living in a refugee camp with two little girls and having to find a country to live in. Weren’t we just the luckiest family in the world to have Canada embrace us, for us to come here, arriving at Pier 21 in Halifax on about March 29, 1953, and understanding from that moment on, through the kind of role model that my mother was, that your cup is always half full, and if you approach the day with a sense of humour, and that happiness was an attitude, every day would be a good day. That’s how we grew up, my sister and I, and that’s how we continue to move forward. I only hope that I can give part of that to my children.
It’s hard to imagine not having the abundance that we have and are able to give our children today, and for them to understand that there are people less fortunate. It behooves us all to make sure our kids grow up understanding what it’s like to not have as much as they do.
It’s our job to listen to people, because it’s through people that we learn how to do our job. We’re isolated in our offices. The people we represent and who elect us are our eyes and ears, and it’s for them and with them that we do the best job.
I want to thank all of you, and I want to thank my staff. My staff have been my rock both here at Queen’s Park and at the constituency office: Colleen Chutko, Bianca Lankheit, for a while, Paul Marai, and my intern here, Leslie De Meulles, and also at my constituency office, Carol Mannone and Cecilia Taylor-Claire. These folks have worked hard, done all of the grunge work to make me look good. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for everything that they have done. If I have made any contributions in this place, I have made them sharing them with my colleagues, on the advice of my colleagues, and with all of you.
I want to say thank you to my family one more time, who are always happy to see me at home and sometimes happy to see me when I leave, too. So, guys, I’m coming home.
I want to say that I am most proud that I have never been ejected from this House, and I want the record to show that, and only once did Mr. Butt confiscate my telephone.
Whether it’s deliberate or by coincidence, I notice that there are 14 lights that are out, or just almost out, coincident with the 14 members who are leaving. So whoever made that happen—getting goosebumps?—it’s interesting that it’s happened in our House tonight.
Deb, thank you very much for the kind of sage advice and patience that you show on a daily basis to all of us in this House. Without you, this place doesn’t tick.
So, Mr. Speaker, with that, thank you very much.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Joyce Savoline, the member from Burlington, thank you for your service to your constituents and your service to the people of Ontario. We wish you all the best.
MEMBER FOR BARRIE
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Member from Peterborough.
Mr. Jeff Leal: I just want to note for the record this evening that another member who is retiring, the Honourable Aileen Carroll from the riding of Barrie, could not be with us this evening. She had a long-standing engagement, so she couldn’t attend.
Just briefly, we know that Aileen has had a very distinguished career in public life, both here in Ontario and in Canada, having served in the cabinet of both Prime Ministers Chrétien and Martin, and then serving in the administration of Premier McGuinty as the Minister of Culture. She has a long-standing service to her community of Barrie in a wide variety of areas, and I know, on behalf of all of us here, we wish her, her husband, Kevin, and her family all the very best in retirement.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I want to thank you, and our thanks on behalf of the Legislature go out to Aileen Carroll for the service that she has given to the citizens of Barrie, both at the provincial level and the federal level, and we wish her the best.
MEMBER FOR ELGIN–MIDDLESEX–LONDON
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Minister of Education.
Hon. Leona Dombrowsky: I am truly honoured that I have been asked, on behalf of the Liberal Party in this assembly, to offer a tribute to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the Honourable Steve Peters, MPP for Elgin–Middlesex–London.
Now, Steve and I are part of the Liberal class of ’99—and Dave Levac. We’re the three remaining members of the class of ’99 who arrived in the Legislative Assembly as members of the opposition party, and, of course, those of us who have had the privilege of serving in opposition know how hard we work and the important work that we do as critics.
Steve Peters was critic for persons with disabilities, and I would say that the work that he did in that particular role, with those responsibilities, was significant, and much of the work that Steve Peters did as critic really formed the basis of what has now become the Ontarians with Disabilities Act. So very early on in his career, he gained an ability to be a strong advocate, a hard worker. He really dug into every issue that he was involved with. After being critic for persons with disabilities, he became critic for agriculture. And on any and every file that Steve was attached to, he brought a real passion, a real ardour for the issue.
I’m sure that the Speakers of the day would be able to tell about your ardour in this House, and it has been observed what a great job you do keeping order and keeping tabs on hecklers. Sometimes it’s almost like you know, before someone says anything, that they’re going to do it, and I would offer that it’s probably because of your very great—
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): The member from Renfrew.
Hon. Leona Dombrowsky: —your own experience in that regard.
Steve Peters came to this assembly a very young man, but very experienced in politics. I have here that in 1988, some 23 years ago, I believe, you were elected as a councillor for St. Thomas, and you went on to serve as the mayor of St. Thomas. You were elected in 1999 as the MPP for Elgin–Middlesex–London, and then in 2003 re-elected—you have been elected for three terms—elected to government, and you were appointed by the Premier as the Minister of Agriculture and Food.
Again, Steve brought to that role the passion that he has for all those things that he knows in his heart to be important and worthwhile, not just to his constituents but to the people of Ontario. Because I’ve had the privilege of serving as Minister of Agriculture and Food, I’m very aware, again, of the foundation that Steve Peters laid in that file. I think, Speaker, if I may, we do share a great deal in common in that we represent rural ridings, but our passion for the agriculture industry and for promoting the wonderful food that we have here in Ontario. Steve went on to serve as Minister of Labour and then, following that important role, he has now served in a role where I think he particularly distinguished himself, and that is the role of Speaker.
Even in the role of Speaker, you never forgot how important it was to promote the quality food, the fruits of the hard-working farmers of Ontario in this very place. He almost immediately set out to ensure that all of the food offerings in this place to all of the visitors would be Ontario products. He very proudly speaks of that and promotes that.
When Steve Peters arrived in this place as the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, he immediately, because he is such a collector himself, made the art collection in this place more available to the people of Ontario. Steve has always had the greatest regard for this place as the people’s place. Any time you come in here—and I have had the opportunity to come in on weekends, as I know many of us here have; late hours, on weekends—and Steve Peters, our Speaker, was demonstrating his common touch. He would be talking to visitors—they may have been from his riding; they may not have—but he was always eager to talk about this very special place and the significance of the art works, the architecture and the many features of this building that some of us who come here every day might overlook. But for Speaker Peters, for my friend Steve, they have been very special and very important.
Steve has also done something as Speaker that I hope will be emulated and repeated by Speakers who follow you, and that is your efforts to visit schools as the Speaker. When he comes into a school he brings his costume as Speaker, and he talks to students about the role of the Speaker and about the importance of government. I think that’s something that is very important. As all of us in this place are looking for ways to make our political process more relevant to our young people, the Speaker has, in my view, in a very effective way, done just that.
If I were to describe you, Speaker, in my part of the world we would say that you’re a salt-of-the-earth person; you’re a man of your word; you’re as honest as the day is long. Those are wonderful attributes not just for a Speaker; for anyone. I would say that they have contributed to your success politically.
Also in your role as Speaker, you’ve worked so very hard to remind us about the importance of what we do here as advocates for the people who send us. He’s always pointing to the carving—I think it’s above that pillar—“Audi alteram partem” or “Hear the other side.” He’s always reminding us that that’s what we are called to this place to do: to hear the other side. I have to say, I do my best, although it’s hard some days.
Speaker, you’re definitely going to be missed here. We know, though, that in your community you have many interests, of course. Some of us know that, Steve, you like to garden. You’re a great gardener. He’s a great collector as well. Some of the things that he likes to collect are memorabilia about his community. I know that everyone in this place is very aware of the history of Jumbo the elephant and its connection to his hometown of St. Thomas. I’m sure that now you’ll have much more time to pursue those things that you love.
I can say on behalf of everyone—certainly, on behalf of my colleagues in the Liberal caucus, but I’m absolutely certain on behalf of everyone in this special place—you will be missed. You definitely brought a fairness to your role as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, and we so very much respect that.
You’ve been a part of my life and even my family for these last 11-plus years. I feel very blessed that I can call you my friend. I do wish you well as you pursue whatever may be your interest in the future. Thank you so much, Steve.
Mr. Ted Arnott: Mr. Speaker, it’s a real honour and a pleasure for me on behalf of our PC caucus to have this chance to pay tribute to you for your 12 years of service in the Ontario Legislature as MPP for Elgin–Middlesex–London, the outstanding service that you provided your constituents and, in the last four years, the service that you provided this House.
It’s a rare thing for a young 25-year-old to be elected to your local council, then go on to become mayor and, later, MPP, serving for another 23 years in public service, to see and do all that you have seen. As a member of this House, you’ve seen the opposition and government caucus rooms. You’ve sat around the cabinet table as Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and as Minister of Labour. In the latter role, you led something that all members of this House supported in a rare show of unanimity when you put forward Bill 221 on May 4, 2007, a bill that allows the cabinet to draft regulations prescribing presumptions for occupational diseases for firefighters. It passed with unanimous support from all parties in just under five minutes. This is, I believe, one of the only two times when this has happened in the Legislature’s history, and it is certainly a feather in your cap.
Steve, you’ve done a great job as Speaker. In fact, in my 21 years of elected public service, you have been one of the very best Speakers that I have seen. You’ve been impartial and fair, and you’ve done the job with enthusiasm and a sense of humour, often at times when we need it. Your efforts have made this building a much greater showcase for the people of Ontario.
It was your initiative to have food services include more Ontario-grown products in the cafeteria. In the dining room, people can now drink Railway City Brewing’s Dead Elephant Ale from St. Thomas, Ontario, and many other types of local beer from Ontario’s breweries. You have made great strides to put Ontario fruit wines on display, and our mutual friend Bert Andrews would want me to thank you for that, too.
As Speaker, you’ve travelled around Ontario to speak to groups and ridings represented by members of all three parties—you visited my riding, and I appreciate that—about the role of Speaker and the significance of this Legislature and its history. I think you’ve set the bar high for future Speakers by doing a noble job to encourage camaraderie amongst all members and even our staff.
You’ve opened the door to the Speaker’s apartment to our staff on countless occasions, and for that I know you’ve earned a great deal of respect; certainly in our caucus you have. The one thing we’re wondering: It’s about five to 11; is the Speaker’s apartment open right now? Will it be open later on? Okay. We’ll look forward to the answer to that.
Speaker, hats off to you for a job well done. While you may be changing course, I know that you have a great deal of energy that will be directed to positive public service in the future, and we wish you well in your future endeavours.
Mme France Gélinas: Mr. Speaker, I’m not used to calling you by your riding name, Elgin–Middlesex–London. We don’t hear this riding very often around here, but it is yours and certainly you have served it well.
A lot of what I was going to say has already been mentioned, so I will go quickly: elected councillor of St. Thomas in 1988; Canada’s youngest mayor when you got elected mayor of St. Thomas in 1991—
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): He’s the youngest ever.
Mme France Gélinas: —but you were, at the time—and in 1999 came into this Legislative Assembly; served as critic for disabilities, then agriculture, and became the Minister of Agriculture and Food. I had the pleasure to travel with you on a number of occasions with the Ontario-Québec Parliamentary Association and got to know you a little bit better.
I also know a great deal more about Jumbo, the giant circus elephant that was struck and killed by a train in St. Thomas. I didn’t even know about Jumbo the giant elephant but now I know the ins and outs of that incident and everything that this elephant has ever done, good or bad.
You are the only Speaker I have ever worked with, so I can tell you that I had all the faith in the work that you did. I thought you were fair, you were equitable, but at the same time you were also patient with new members like me, who did not always know exactly how things worked in here. You have been recognized, and I have to add my voice to this, for your dedication to bringing Ontario-grown food and drinks to this assembly, to the dining room, to the cafeteria, as well as the horticultural flowers and everything around Queen’s Park. You certainly left your touch on this.
There is one particular issue, though, given that you are a man of great power sitting in the Speaker’s chair. By the east door, just beside your office, there are those bigger, larger-than-life-sized pictures of men looking at me every time I come in through the east door. Frankly, Speaker, they scare me. So if there is anything you can do for me, I would ask that you change this. Do anything. Get them to look left or right or do something. In exchange for this, I will stop spying on how many times you go for fresh air out of the east door. I think this is a pretty good deal. I’ll leave it at that for you to think it over.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I’d like to thank the Minister of Education, the member from Wellington–Halton Hills and the member from Nickel Belt. We’ll see what we can do. Maybe we’ll move Laura Secord down. But Laura Secord is actually a he. If you go take a look at that painting, she was once a he. So I don’t know; we can work on that. To my mother who is watching at home on the Internet: You didn’t just hear what France Gélinas had to say.
You know, this has been an amazing evening. We have been here now for four hours and 15 minutes. As the minister pointed out, the motto of this place is to hear the other side. This has been an amazing night. We have actually been able to hear the other side. It’s a challenge I would lay down to a future Speaker. Maybe one of the ways we can solve that as well, France, is by electing a female Speaker in this place so that it’s not a bunch of old men who are looking—maybe not old men; I better rephrase that. Sorry about that, Mike. It’s not a shot at us. But I hope we can learn from tonight, because one of the things that has really struck me is that we’ve all learned more about one another. It’s something that we don’t do enough around this place. I’ve had the opportunity to talk to former Speakers and you hear the stories of camaraderie that used to exist around here. You can sit down and talk to Bradley or Sterling and they’ll tell you all about it. It’s something, for those of you who are going to be here after October 6, that we need do more of. We do need to get to know each other a little better, because I think it can change the decorum in this place. I would encourage you to do it.
It’s amazing, this building that has served since 1893 and what has gone on in it. You need to always remember that: Hear the other side.
I want to thank my mom, Joan, who is watching tonight at home, courtesy of a wonderful initiative by our broadcast and recording services, where you can now watch legislative proceedings on the Internet. My brother Joe, who is here again for the second time today—
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I’ll say this to my brother Joe: Generally what we’ve heard tonight we talk about when somebody is six feet under. I think that that’s one of the amazing things tonight. So sorry, Joe, you missed out on a bunch of business at the funeral home. But it’s true—and sorry, Mike Brown is a funeral director as well.
My sister Janet, who is not here; and my dad, Percy, who is—you know, similar to some of the stories you hear, my dad saw my first election in 1988 but never witnessed one after that. But we certainly had a few bottles of champagne and a few glasses of beer poured on his grave on election nights over the years, and I’m sorry he’s not here.
My good friend Suzanne van Bommel is here. Suzanne ran all three of my election campaigns. Thank you.
To friends like Don Cosens and Mark Cosens, who have been there over the years to support me and all of my campaign team, thanks.
To the citizens of Elgin–Middlesex–London and the citizens of St. Thomas who have marked their X beside me, or even those who didn’t mark the X beside me but supported me over the years, thank you.
It’s been an amazing opportunity. I want to thank somebody who’s sitting behind us, a guy by the name of Rod McDonald. I remember Labour Day 1998. Rod McDonald was looking for candidates and came to see me at my mayor’s office in St. Thomas. Rod hounded me and I said, “I’ll give you an answer by Thanksgiving,” then it was Remembrance Day and then it was finally Christmas. I want to thank Rod McDonald because I wouldn’t be here if Rod hadn’t pushed me.
June 3, 1999, 12 years ago, I arrived in this place. I’ll never forget that drive just after June 3, 1999, driving up University Avenue and thinking, “Oh, my goodness, this is where I’m going to work for the next four years,” never realizing that I’d ever actually have an opportunity to live in this place. But arriving here immediately, and Tony, the parking lot attendant out front, coming up and me saying, “Hi, I’m Steve Peters.” “I know who you are, Mr. Peters. Just park right over there.”
This is an amazing building and we’ve got amazing people who work here.
I want to thank the Premier on a number of fronts. Dalton McGuinty gave me some great opportunities to do things that most people will never ever have a chance to do, and I thank him for that. I thank him for the opportunity to have served as Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Labour for this province. I also want to thank him for October 28, 2007, at 4:10 in the afternoon to be exact. That was the day I was dropped from cabinet. You know, it’s one of those things where you’re bitter at the time. But, in hindsight, thank you, Dalton, because you gave me an opportunity to do something that was never ever in the cards. It wasn’t in my cards of driving up the street in June 1999. I thank you for it because I, like Mike Brown, am one of only 40 people who have ever had a chance to have served in this place, at least up to now. Mike and I will hang forever in this building, as the Premier will, except more people are going to see Mike and me down the road than they will you because more people travel down the main corridors of the building than they do the second floor. Sorry about that, Premier.
I had an opportunity to work on some amazing initiatives, whether it was establishment of an ethanol growth fund, bringing health and safety to agriculture in this province, or presumptive legislation, which was mentioned. I need to use this as an opportunity right now to apologize to Andrea Horwath and to publicly say thank you for the work that she did advocating for presumptive legislation. I didn’t have that opportunity to say thank you to her that day the legislation was introduced, but I apologize that I didn’t that day, and I can say that now.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Lots of great initiatives. I can go back and look back in my riding. There’s one, though, that’s finally been done. It started with Conservatives, went through the Liberals, went through the NDP, back to the Conservatives, back to the Liberals, finally dealing with a consolidated courthouse for the county of Elgin. At the end of June this year, we’re going to break ground on this courthouse. I could care less—it’s wonderful all the things that are done, but that is the one thing that I will always say thank you for. Thanks to the Attorney General and George Smitherman for helping to make that happen.
Interjection: What does Yvonne Harris think of it?
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Yvonne Harris is very happy about that.
I want to thank my constituency staff—Craig Bradford, Kim Davis, Joe Lyons, Frank Skonieczny and Veronika Sonier—and my Queen’s Park staff—Maggie Head, who’s up in the gallery tonight with my brother Joe and Suzanne van Bommel, and Ana Pontoni and Gloria Richards. Thank you all very much for the opportunity.
I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to the Clerk, Deb Deller; Todd Decker; the table staff; all the legislative staff, whether it’s security, the cleaners, the guides, the Hansard staff, broadcast and recording, library, grounds, food services and, of course, our good friend Frank the barber. Thank you all. Thank you to the media for the work that they have done.
I’m going to close with a couple things. I say this to the members and it hearkens to a comment that Norm Sterling made earlier. I think it is time to look at a Camp commission report again for this place, because if you look back at what that Camp commission did, that Camp commission brought true independence to this Legislature. It established offices for members in this building, it established constituency offices, and it clearly defined the role between the executive and the elected. We’ve lost that, and we can blame all parties for what we have lost. But you know, collectively, as members, if we want to change things, and if you want to change things after 6 October, it is you, is the 107 people in this room, who need to take this place back, who need to say to the corner office—it doesn’t matter who is sitting in that corner office, whether it is the Premier’s office or the Leader of the Opposition’s office or the leader of the third party—“We’ve had enough. We’re going to take this place back.”
To continue to oppose for the sake of opposing or supporting for the sake of supporting—we have talked for years about bringing more freedom back to the backbenchers, but it’s all been talk. The members need to bring that back. I certainly hope that you will do your part to make that happen.
I want to close with this, and it is the only political comment that I will make from this dais: We have two days left and there is a blight that is going to come over this building. It is an apartment complex that is proposed for Avenue Road and Bloor. If we collectively want to leave a legacy in this place and not destroy the beautiful vista that exists of this building as we travel up University Avenue, let’s stop 21 Avenue Road. I don’t care about what the developers may think, but we have an opportunity to preserve this vista for future generations. If we don’t do it now, that opportunity is lost and that is going to hang over all of us collectively within this House.
So thank you. Thank you to the Premier. Thank you to the members of the opposition. As Speaker, I’ve had the opportunity to sit on both sides of this House: to sit in opposition, to sit in government, and then to have the privilege to sit in this chair and to see things from both sides. There are great things that have happened within this chamber. I wish each and every one of you all the best.
I will end with this: Remember always, we’ve got the greatest agricultural province in the country. Buy local, buy Ontario, buy Canadian.
Thank you all very much.
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): There being no further business, this House stands adjourned until 9 a.m. tomorrow morning.
Oh, and by the way, for a little bit, if you want, you can come upstairs.
The House adjourned at 2308.