“If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.”
Nowhere is that saying more true than in the political arena, and while my position on specific public policy may be opposed by some, I have never been accused of not taking a clear stand on the issues of the day. This section of my website will give you an insight into where I stand on some of the key issues, and also gives you the opportunity to submit your questions, comments and advice on the issues important to you.
I take great pride in my record of successful advocacy to ensure that Newmarket and Aurora residents have access to some of the best health care services in the province.
As the MPP representing Newmarket and Aurora from 1995 to 1999, I made it a priority to work with Dan Carriere, President and CEO of Southlake Regional Health Centre. My commitment was to ensure that Southlake would be chosen by the Ministry of Health to host the Regional Cardiac Care Centre that is now widely known as a Centre of excellence for Cardiac Care. I have continued that advocacy in support of Southlake’s development plans in what will prove to become one of the leading cancer care centres in the country.
The Ontario PC Party is committed to ensuring that our health care system is accessible to every Ontarian when and where health services are needed. While in many ways we enjoy the benefits of an excellent health care system, we are aware of far too many incidents in which the system is failing to meet individual needs.
Wait times continue to increase for emergency room services, MRI’s, Breast Screening, and other diagnostic services and an ever-increasing number of Ontarians do not have access to a family doctor.
If we are to ensure the sustainability of our health care system, specific steps will have to be taken to improve access to services and health care professionals.
One such step should be to encourage the private sector to become engaged in the delivery of more health care services. While paid for by OHIP, these services would not only be more accessible, but would also prove to be more efficiently delivered.
The physician shortage can be readily addressed by creating more residency positions for the thousands of foreign-trained physicians in our province. Many of these physicians and surgeons have training and experience in jurisdictions where the standards for education and practice are on par with Ontario, but are kept on the sidelines due to inaction by the provincial government.
Gridlock is without question one of the most important challenges facing us today. Residents of Newmarket and Aurora are becoming increasingly aware that clogged roads are affecting their quality of life. Businesses of every size are seeing the effects of gridlock on everything from production and delivery costs to productivity and availability of labour.
As Minister of Transportation, I had the opportunity to work with my municipal colleagues in the Region of York to assess the impact of gridlock on our communities. A comprehensive plan was developed that included a long-term transit strategy as well as much needed highway infrastructure.
Although controversial at the time, I committed $50 million through the Ministry of Transportation to support Phase One of the Viva Transit project. This initiative will prove to be a visionary undertaking for York Region.
More frequent train service for Newmarket and Aurora, the extension of the 404 and 427, the construction of the Bradford by-pass were all projects I committed to as Minister of Transportation. These are projects I continue to support and will advocate in a PC government.
While stewardship of our environment is a responsibility of every citizen, it falls to government to provide the leadership and regulatory framework to ensure that our natural heritage is protected and preserved for future generations.
As most of my constituents are aware, I have been a strong advocate of environmental protection. I called for provincial legislation to protect the Oak Ridges Moraine when it was not yet government policy, and took great pride in seeing the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Act passed into law in November 2001. That legislation permanently protects more than 470,000 acres of environmentally sensitive lands stretching from Caledon in the east, to Northumberland in the west. Through the most ambitious standards ever imposed in Ontario and possibly North America, the ecological health and connectivity of the moriane will be improved dramatically over its current condition.
The Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation was established to fund activities such as land securement, research, public education and private land stewardship. Supporting their continued efforts will continue to be a priority for me and for our Party.
I have often stated publicly that I believe the highest calling in our society is the teaching profession. Teachers instill values and impart knowledge to our children and youth that will influence their lives and in many ways contribute greatly to their future success in life.
It is no wonder then, that Education is, and must be a top priority for government.
The objective of our education system, should be to ensure that every child has an equal opportunity to succeed in life. And when we talk about “every child” in that context, we cannot exclude any child from that opportunity. That is why I have taken so seriously the current government’s failure to keep their promises to autistic children. No child should be denied services that provide them with the basic life skills, and no parent in this province should be driven to financial ruin because of the government’s refusal to fund those essential services.
“Every child” must also include those children whose parents have chosen an alternative to the public school system. That is why I am an advocate of fairness in education funding, and supported the Education Tax Credit implemented by the former PC government.
As your MPP, it is my responsibility to bring your views and concerns to our Party and the Legislature. I invite you to contact me and let me know how I can help bring your thoughts to government on these and any other issues.