Cornwall - Nov. 1, 2011 - It’s been almost a month since the election, and it has been nonstop with the election cleanup, trips to Toronto for orientation, caucus meetings, and looking for accommodations and office space. My riding office opened this past week, temporarily at Jim Brownell’s former Montreal Road office, and we are open for business, setting up the office and addressing constituent issues.
Two weeks ago, the sixteen new PC members were invited to our party’s new member’s orientation. As I first walked up to Queen’s Park, I was taken aback by the mystique and history that surrounds the building. A huge majestic stone building at the end of University Avenue. In front of the Legislature stands a statue of Sir John Sandfield MacDonald, Ontario’s first Premier, raised and educated at St. Raphael’s. To my surprise, as I entered the building reaching for my ID, security greeted me by name, something that staff takes great pride in.
I was escorted to the PC Caucus office where we were welcomed by our leader, Tim Hudak, and MPP’s Jim Wilson and Bob Bailey, who provided some guidance and tips on getting started in our new roles. Government staff then descended on us with realms of paper and forms requiring signatures. All in all, a very interesting day.
Last week, there was a more formal orientation to Queen’s Park for all the new members by the current speaker, Steve Peters, and the Clerk of the Legislature, Deb Deller. We were introduced to some of the history of the building, along with a tour and introduction to some of the rules and expectations of our new roles. The job of government was also getting underway, as Dalton McGuinty introduced his new cabinet.
I was honoured to be named by Tim Hudak to his Shadow Cabinet as Consumer Services Critic, and look forward in my new role of providing responsible feedback to the ministry.
The upcoming week will be a busy one with my swearing-in ceremony on Monday, followed by a caucus meeting and legislative regulation orientation on Wednesday, as well as ministry briefings throughout the week. I hope to get into my Queen’s Park Office and get set up with my Toronto home base.
All in all, it will be an interesting and busy time as we get ready to get down to the business of governing the Province of Ontario. As we make our way through these uneasy economic times, we must ensure that we take the steps necessary to weather the tough times ahead.