Blog Post January 9th

As we begin 2015, the New Year brings me renewed hope and optimism for our community and country.

This week I had the opportunity to sit down with London’s new mayor, Matt Brown, to discuss how we can work together and support each other’s efforts to get London on track for a brighter future. Along with ensuring there are good intergovernmental relations, we talked about a range of important issues including better transit, the affordable housing crisis, local and regional planning, and the importance of small business and vibrant cities as economic engines of Canada. I am very much looking forward to working with our dynamic new council in moving London forward.

This week also saw winter truly arrive in London with frigid temperatures and a series of snow squalls that walloped our city on Wednesday. It cannot be said enough, thank you to the emergency services personnel who responded to those who found themselves victims of weather related accidents. Thank you also to those outreach and shelter workers helping those without adequate shelter during the winter weather and to the dedicated municipal service workers who were out doing their best to keep our roads and sidewalks clear. And I would like to also thank the transit workers who kept our buses running so those who had to be out could still get to where they needed to be.

We also finally saw the Prime Minister do the right thing this week and relieve Julian Fantino from his post as Minister of Veterans Affairs.  For nearly a year I have been pressing for Mr. Fantino’s resignation as Minister. The way that Veterans Affairs has been operating under the Harper government is absolutely unacceptable! There is a long list of problems in the file that must be addressed, problems which an all party parliamentary committee not only identified but for which they offered solutions. Mr. Harper and Mr. Fantino ignored this committee’s report and our veterans have suffered for it. Although the Conservative’s track record does not inspire confidence, my hope is that the new Minister, Erin O’Toole, will be more responsive to the needs of our veterans.

Next week I will be returning to Ottawa to meet with our NDP Caucus to prepare for parliament’s return to session at the end of January—assuming of course that the Prime Minister does not trigger an early election.  An interesting year lies ahead!