This week it’s all about honour.
Without doubt, hosting constituency clinics in various communities about one week per month effectively helps me to stay abreast with what’s on the minds of the People of Algoma-Manitoulin. Those clinics allow me to meet one-on-one with constituents who wish to discuss matters of concern to them. In addition, Canadians celebrated Remembrance Dayand since the official event happened on a Sunday this year, I had a wonderful opportunity to participate in many ceremonies over a three day period. I was pleased to attend several elementary and secondary school ceremonies as well as join several different Legions who held ceremonies in advance.
I am pleased to say that each year our schools, cadet corps and Legions do an outstanding job of helping us all honour the unfathomable sacrifice that so many of our service men and women paid. Let us never take for granted the profound freedoms and privileges we enjoy thanks to the brave sacrifice so many Canadians. I proudly join all Legion members in saying, “We will remember them.”
This week Ontario also celebrated the third annual Treaties Recognition Weekduring which we pause to learn and reflect upon the importance of our nation’s treaties with Indigenous peoples. Many Ontario teachers have special lessons or activities and often invite Indigenous speakers to come share their knowledge and understanding on the historic andmodern day importance of existing treaties.
The treaties are living agreements signed by the Crown of Canada and Indigenous leaders. They define the terms of the agreements which help to maintain peaceful relations by honouring promises, obligations and benefits for both parties. Indigenous peoples wanted to protect their traditional lands, resources, and ways of life, while ensuring peace and friendship as our nations grew together. In this way, New Democrats believe that all Canadians are part of the treaties.
It is interesting to note that in talking about the importance of observing Remembrance Dayand Treaties Week, as a society we are ensuring that our youth are learning about the importance of showing honour and respect for what others have done in our name. As parents, all of us try to instill a deep sense of such qualities in our children as they grow up in hopes that these values will be important to them as adults.
Merely days ago the Hon. Peter Bethlenfalvy, Treasury Board President, in a dinner speech at the Empire Club reminded listeners that one of the PC’s priority commitments to the people of Ontario is that their government will exhibit traits of accountability, trust and transparency. How many times did we hear such promises during the election?
Just this week certain PC members and insiders were accused of some very serious improprieties. Regardless of guilt or innocence, it would seem reasonable and responsible for the Premier to keep his promise of accountability and transparency. When the news of the expulsion of the individuals was released, Doug Ford could have chosen to be honest and direct by informing the public of some serious allegations of sexual misconduct by a senior minister and a party staff member. Yet instead he chose to simply say that the minister was taking time off for substance use rehabilitation. He could easily have informed the public of this unfortunate situation while still completely protecting the identity and privacy of alleged victims.
All of us make mistakes; sometimes really big ones. As children, my brothers and I learned that when we make a mistake, rather than trying to justify it, cover up or lie about it, just tell the truth. While Mom might have been disappointed with our lack of judgement, at least she could take solace that we were just upfront about it. People can forgive mistakes but will not respect lies or deceit.
New Democrats have been pressuring Doug Ford to ask for the resignation of Community Safety Minister Michael Tibollo in light of the fact both he and his law firm are facing multiple lawsuits including allegations of professional misconduct and a failure to pay outstanding debts. In light of the severity of these allegations and that Tibollo is the Minister for Community Safety, one would think that if the PCs were serious about their commitment to accountability, trust and transparency, the Premier would at least ask the Minister to step aside until the charges are dealt with. When NDP members attempted to ask the premier about multiple lawsuits Ford responded, “I know where the member is going here, but let’s be very clear: We have the most ethical, most transparent, most accountable caucus — not just cabinet, but caucus — I’ve ever seen in politics.”
No one is perfect – or ever will be. We all make mistakes or show a lack good judgment from time to time. But, we need to remember what Mom and Dad taught us. Admit when you are wrong, say you are sorry, make restitution and resolve to try not to do it again. The same rules apply to politicians.
Remembrance Dayreminds us of the sacrifices of so many to protect our freedoms and democracy. I promise to honour them each day by continuing to share values of integrity, accountability and respect and will encourage others to do so as well.
As always, please feel free to contact my office about these issues, or any other provincial matters.