The following are Christmas and End of Year messages from the Mayors of Cornwall, South Glengarry, North Glengarry, South Stormont, North Stormont, South Dundas and North Dundas as well as MP Guy Lauzon on MPP Jim McDonell.
Mayor Bernadette Clement – Cornwall
I am grateful to have this opportunity at Christmas time, to share some thoughts with my fellow citizens of Cornwall and with our friends and neighbours throughout SD&G and Akwesasne. Try as we might, none of us can predict the future. We can hope that it allows for all of us to fully participate in our wonderful community, but we will need more than hope, so that together we can shape the best future for our region. We need to listen more to one another. Let’s actively seek out ideas and encourage everyone who wants to contribute positively to our community. Reaching out, listening, planning and participating are essential ingredients in building a successful and happy place to live. We need to nurture a confidence in ourselves and a strong belief in our ability to achieve remarkable things together. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Joyeux Noël à tous et à toutes!
Mayor Frank Prevost – South Glengarry
As 2018 draws to a close, it is time to reflect on some of those initiatives that occurred in the past year that continue to reinforce why the Township of South Glengarry is such a wonderful place to live. Let’s start with new playground equipment and a revitalized main street in Martintown, the construction of a new outdoor skating rink, new on-street Christmas lights, a beautiful banner program and the magnificent LAVIII Monument in Lancaster, a new bridge on 3rd Line Road, two new Pumper Trucks for our Fire Services, continued improvements and renovations at the CharLan Arena and Tartan Hall in Williamstown, the implementation of the highly successful Community Improvement Plan and the resurfacing of several Township roads … Street, Loyalist and Nine Mile. And all of this achieved with a 2.7% tax rate reduction for our residents.
On behalf of Council and staff at the Township of South Glengarry,
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
We look forward to also celebrating a wonderful and prosperous 2019 with our residents and neighbours.
Mayor Frank Prevost
Mayor Jamie MacDonald – North Glengarry
The festive season is upon us. It is a time for family and friends to reconnect. With the new year approaching it is also a time to reflect on the past year and the year ahead. As the new Mayor in North Glengarry and the Warden for SD &G I am excited for what lies ahead. With new councils come new ideas and fresh perspectives. In both North Glengarry and The Counties we must continue the hard work of the previous four years and build upon it. i Look forward to turning on the taps for water in Maxville in 2019 and preparing for growth. We will lobby for natural gas expansion to our rural areas and continue to fight for our rural schools. In North Glengarry our council will work to ensure our residents are well informed, community engagement is so very important. Take the time to follow both the Counties and the Township on social media platforms to stay up to date. On behalf of the councils of North Glengarry and The Counties I would like to wish every resident a Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year.
Mayor Bryan McGillis – South Stormont
While 2018 may be winding down, the new term of Council is just getting underway. I’d like to begin by thanking the residents of South Stormont for their support and confidence in this Council to help make our community all that it can be.
We have a lot to be excited about in 2019 in South Stormont, but with that excitement comes a lot of hard work. I believe that we are up for the challenge. We will work toward finding solutions to the low water levels that Lake St. Lawrence experienced in our area; work to attract new business to South Stormont and help our current business community through programs such as the Community Improvement Plan; and work towards improved public engagement and communications with our residents. We have a lot to be proud of in our Township, and Council and Staff look forward to working together to add to the list in 2019.
On behalf of my colleagues on the newly-elected Council of the Township of South Stormont, I would like to wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas, and nothing but the best in the new year to come.
Mayor Bryan McGillis
Mayor Jim Wert – North Stormont
As another year comes quickly to an end it is time to extend best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to the residents of North Stormont and all our surrounding municipalities.
This is a magical time of the year as communities are alive with concerts, dinners and good will. News papers and social media are full of opportunities to see the spirit this season is so famous for.
One of our staff in North Stormont, “Amy Martin” recently sent me this little clip.
Residents only get one change every 4 years to pick the Council they want to define their community, but when those same residents volunteer they vote for the type of community they want to live in every day.
My hat is off to the countless volunteers who make this season come alive; your commitment truly does help define the communities we live in.
All the best in 2019.
The Council and Staff of North Stormont
Mayor Steven Byvelds – South Dundas
Christmas is special time of year where we celebrate being with family and friends. It is also a time when we help those who are less fortunate and give them support. On behalf of the Council and staff of the Municipality of South Dundas, I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a most joyous New Year in 2019.
Steven Byvelds, Mayor
Municipality of South Dundas
Mayor Tony Fraser – North Dundas
My Christmas message to the citizens of North Dundas as well as everyone that lives and works in SDG is that 2018 has been an exciting as well as a challenging year for most of us. The struggles that many of us face with perseverance and courage demonstrates that our spirit and strength of character is strong. The successes that many have achieved is an example of what hard work and determined effort can bring about. The volunteers that are so vitally important to making sure that our communities truly reflect what communities should be, welcoming and supportive, deserve all the thanks and praise given to them and more. I know that my family and I have been truly blessed to be able to live and work in a country that allows us to lead a peaceful, safe and happy life. My Christmas wish is that hope and joy is experienced by all this special season and for everyone’s great success in 2019.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,
Tony Fraser, Mayor
Township of North Dundas
MP Guy Lauzon – Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry
As we close the chapter on 2018 and eagerly look forward to 2019, it gives me great joy to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
I have been able to connect with many of your personally over the past year either at my summer BBQ or our Christmas Open House, perhaps while stopping in the office or simply by phone or email. It continues to be a great honour to represent you in the House of Commons.
The past few years have been difficult for the Canadian economy and many families have felt the added pressure as the grip on their wallets tightened and they are being forced to make their dollar go further. Now with the Liberal Government’s plan to slap on a carbon tax starting in 2019, which will raise the price of everything from home heating and fuel prices, to household goods and groceries, this strain will be felt even further.
However there is light on the horizon. Next year Canadians will have the opportunity to elect a new Government to reset Canada on the right path for a brighter future.
Andrew Scheer and the Conservative Party will offer Canadians a choice for a more Prosperous Canada, for a Safer Canada.
We will focus on restoring fiscal accountability to Canada, massive deficits and debt that we’ve seen balloon under the Liberals need to stop. We will ensure we put the best interest of Canadian’s first when negotiating global trade deals, not bowing to external pressure and sacrificing entire Canadian sectors such as agriculture or manufacturing.
We will fix the mess that Justin Trudeau made of our immigration system, making sure the most vulnerable people and true refugees are giving priority of those who are illegally entering Canada.
I believe that our Government can do better; better for all of us. I look forward to the coming year and hope I have the chance to speak with many of you in the coming months. I wish you, and your families and merry, and peaceful Christmas Season.
MP Stormont Dundas South Glengarry
MPP Jim McDonell – Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry
This past year started with a large increase to the minimum wage, which may have raised the income of some, but also eroded the buying power of all, especially those on minimum wage and fixed incomes. As forecast, many jobs were lost, as businesses were forced to cut back or close. Our government has since addressed some of the concerns by eliminating provincial income tax for those making less than $30,000 a year, and not moving forward with the 2019 planned increase to the minimum wage.
Once again, I took the opportunity in January to hear our residents during pre-budget consultations. Residents highlighted challenges such as drug coverage, labour reforms, wait times for health-care specialists and long-term care beds, and concerns over rural education and infrastructure.
In February, my party pressed the Liberal government to reexamine how they deal with the business sector. Job-creating advocates had severe concerns about the viability of small- and medium-sized businesses. The government was pressed to reduce energy and employment costs, as well as regulatory requirements that were causing excessive start-up delays. This was borne out with a record-breaking loss of 51,000 jobs in January.
March was an exciting time for the Progressive Conservatives as we welcomed Doug Ford as our new party and Official Opposition Leader. The opposition criticized the government on its lack of strategic planning, which in turn increased the deficit and doubled our debt.
Also in March, Auditor-General Bonnie Lysyk exposed the Liberal government’s dire financial picture, showing the government’s annual deficit would actually be $4-5 billion higher than forecast.
The legislature rose in early May to allow MPP’s and candidates to campaign for the provincial election in June. After a well-organized effort by my team, I was grateful and proud to be elected for a third term in a new PC majority government.
Our new government was sworn in later that month, and I was honoured to accept the post as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Steve Clark.
The Throne Speech revealed the government’s priorities, such as ending the York University strike, removing cap and trade, and canceling approximately 800 wind and solar projects that would result in even high electricity prices. We quickly reformed Hydro One’s management and board to turn the page in order to provide relief for consumers.
As we quickly resumed the Legislature, our new government took swift action in creating a Commission of Inquiry. A team of auditors scoured the previous government’s spending practices and waste. The extraordinary summer session continued with the introduction of the Cap and Trade Cancellation Act. The government also continued its efforts to reel in violence, highlighted by the Toronto shootings in July, with a $25M commitment to the Toronto Police Service.
Come September our government “rolled up its sleeves” to live up to its promise of action by introducing numerous bills that show we are serious about making Ontario “Open For Business.” An important piece of this commitment was presented via The Better Local Government Act that improved and streamlined the capabilities of municipalities. Our government fulfilled its election commitments by holding consultations on education and the introduction of the Green Energy Repeal Act and Access to Natural Gas.
In a strong symbolic gesture in October, the Premier commissioned the signature blue and white Ontario signage at international highway border crossings to proclaim that we are “Open For Business.”
In November, more bad news was received with the announced closure of the Oshawa GM plant. This unfortunate situation exemplified the need for our government to reduce costs for businesses to ensure that people have access to good paying jobs. I personally committed to this philosophy by introducing the Organic Products Act to harmonize organic certification regulations in Ontario to match the federal requirements. It will give both producers and consumers greater confidence when they invest in and purchase Ontario’s organic foods.
The results of our line-by-line audit revealed some startling realities of Ontario’s financial situation. In our Fall Economic Statement, we brought in $3.2 billion of efficiencies, including the reorganization of the five independent officers of the Legislature under the Offices of the Ontario Ombudsman and Auditor General. This action included the movement of the French Languages Services Commissioner, and all its employees, into the Ombudsman Office, as referenced in the Bill, without loss of position or jobs. We were clear to emphasize that these officers will enjoy the increased powers of the Ombudsman’s office while controlling costs.
In December, the Auditor-General reported more bad news in her annual report as she revealed that the previous government was spending $40 million more per day than it was collecting. Clearly, this could not continue, or it would jeopardize our already strained health and social services and education programs. Our Christmas break was cut short to deal with a strike notice at Ontario Power Generation, which supplies approximately 50 percent of Ontario’s electricity through its nuclear, hydroelectric, thermal, and wind facilities. With the support of the Liberal and Green Party members, our government passed Bill 67, the Labour Relations Amendment Act (Protecting Ontario’s Power Supply) against the will of the NDP Official Opposition. Without the passing of Bill 67, safety protocols would have required the shutdown of Ontario’s nuclear reactors, our main source of power, to commence the following day. Once the shutdown procedure started, it would take more than a week to regain the lost power, forcing brownouts and power outages, affecting our residents and businesses during our coldest time of the year.
I’m looking forward to enjoying the Christmas season with family, friends, and neighbours. I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and the very best in the New Year. Have a safe and happy time with family and friends.