By Goldie Ghamari, MPP for Carleton
Since I was first elected as the MPP for Carleton in 2018, there have never been more meaningful celebrations of Remembrance Day in our riding.
Because of some timing conflicts of the various ceremonies, it is not possible to get to each and every one in the Carleton riding. However, I was able to get to several both on the weekend of Nov. 4-5 and on Remembrance Day itself on Sat., Nov. 11.
As I looked around during the ceremonies, thoughts raced through my head, and I wondered how many of you had the same thoughts. We wear our poppies with pride. We wear them to honour and respect the many Canadians before us who made sacrifices and lost their lives so that we could live in freedom. I will never take this freedom for granted. When I was just a toddler, my family escaped living under the terrorist regime in Iran to come to the wonderful, safe haven of Canada.
It was not easy for my parents to come to Canada as refugees. But through hard work and through the respect that they have for Canada, they gave my sister and I childhoods and lives that could not even be imagined in Iran. We became the proudest and most passionate Canadians we could be, both as individuals, and collectively as a family.
I first became a politician out of a love for Canada and for Ontario. I wanted to contribute. I wanted to give back. I wanted to make a difference – a big difference. I never imagined that fate would thrust me onto a stage where I would become an international voice standing up against the Islamofascist terrorist actions of Hamas, which is funded by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran.
Now, when I look at the poppy on my coat, I am reminded that history cannot and must not repeat itself. We cannot lose our freedom, a precious gift given to us by those brave Canadians before us who fought for it. When we turn on the news or check our social media feeds, we are getting a glimpse of what the world looks like without freedom.
As your elected official, I will continue to do everything I can for the riding of Carleton. I will push for more schools, for better infrastructure, for more support for local businesses and farms, and for any other local issue that arises.
I will do this as the MPP for Carleton, but I will also do this as a proud Canadian who, now more than ever, loves my country.
Being at our Remembrance Day ceremonies and wearing a poppy made me reflect and think of all of these things.
Congratulations Dr. Cheng
Last week, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and Chancellor of the Order of Ontario, announced 26 new appointments to the Order of Ontario for 2022. Since it’s creation in 1986, more than 800 people have been recognized with the province’s highest civilian honour for their extraordinary contributions.
Among the 2022 Appointees to the Order of Ontario was Dr. Michael Cheng.
Dr. Cheng has advanced the understanding of child and youth mental health and wellness through his work as a child psychiatrist at Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Ottawa and a member of the CHEO Research Institute. He also co-founded eMentalHealth.ca, a mental health website for families and professionals, and co-developed a guide for frontline police officers to better understand and support child/youth mental health.
The incoming Lieutenant Governor, Edith Dumont, will bestow the province’s highest honour to the new appointees in a ceremony taking place on November 27, 2023.
The Order of Ontario recognizes exceptional leaders from all walks of life and diverse fields of endeavour whose impact and lasting legacy have played an important role in building a stronger province, country and world.
Building a Strong Ontario Together
The Minister of Finance released the 2023 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: Building a Strong Ontario Together. This update continues the government’s responsible, targeted approach, providing the flexibility needed to help address ongoing economic uncertainty and build critical infrastructure in growing communities while laying a strong fiscal foundation for future generations.
Ontario is seeing significant growth, with nearly 500,000 more people coming to the province last year and more than 170,000 net new jobs created in the first nine months of 2023 alone.
According to the Minister of Finance, our population is growing, jobs are being created and more and more companies are choosing Ontario as a place to do business. While this is good news, this cannot be taken for granted at a time of geopolitical and economic uncertainty. The choice for the road ahead is clear. We must continue with our government’s targeted approach — it has the flexibility we need while still investing to build the critical infrastructure to support growing communities across Ontario.
With Building a Strong Ontario Together, the government is introducing new tools to help build critical infrastructure faster and smarter, continuing to attract investments and more jobs, and providing better services for people.
- Launching the Ontario Infrastructure Bank, a new arms-length, board-governed agency to enable public-sector pension plans and other trusted institutional investors to participate in large-scale infrastructure projects across the province. At the outset, projects will be focused on long-term care homes, affordable housing and infrastructure in the municipal, community, energy and transportation sectors.
- Helping to build more rental homes by taking steps to remove the full eight per cent provincial portion of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) on qualifying new purpose-built rental housing. This will encourage builders to build more rental units, and is another step in the government’s plan to help people in Ontario find and afford a place to live.
- Providing an additional $100 million to the Invest Ontario Fund, for a total of $500 million, which will enable Invest Ontario, the government’s investment attraction agency, to help attract more leading companies to the province, further support businesses already here and create good-paying jobs in communities across the province.
- Proposing to enhance the Ontario Focused Flow-Through Share Tax Credit eligibility to help stimulate critical mineral exploration and improve access to capital for small exploration companies. If approved, the change would start with the 2023 tax year and add $12 million per year in tax credit support to Ontario’s critical minerals mining industry.
- Extending the current gas and fuel tax rate cuts through to June 30, 2024 — a proposed change that, along with the rate cuts already in place, would save households $260 on average since the cuts were first implemented in July 2022.
- Expanding access to breast cancer screening for women ages 40 to 49, by allowing them to self-refer for a mammogram through the Ontario Breast Screening Program. Beginning in fall 2024, these measures will increase access for more than 305,000 additional individuals.
The government is now projecting a $5.6 billion deficit in 2023–24 based on updated economic and revenue information and higher contingencies to mitigate near-term risks.
Over the medium term, the government is taking a responsible approach to eliminating Ontario’s deficit by 2025–26. A deficit of $5.3 billion is forecast in 2024–25, followed by a surplus of $0.5 billion in 2025–26.
My office is open Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4 pm. If you require assistance on any matter, please contact me at any time. My staff and I will be happy to assist. Even if it’s not a provincial issue, I’ll make sure to connect you with the proper office.
Your voice at Queen’s Park
Featured Image: Carleton MPP Goldie Ghamari lays a wreath at the Kars Remembrance Day ceremony Sun., Nov. 5.