I wanted to touch base with you all once more before the end of the year. The fall has gone remarkably quickly and we are already on the light side of the darkest day of the year -- longer days every day from now until June!
This time of year seems to invite stocktaking and reflection on the year that has come and gone. I always revel in the celebrations at our schools where children, staff, parents, grandparents and friends sing together, play music, enact old stories and, I think, manifest the good will and affection that underpin our school communities. All of that prompts in me a surge of gratitude for the adults who support and work in our schools.
In the past few months, we have also been grappling with the H1N1 public health issue. If you have not yet had a vaccination, I encourage you to do so by contacting your doctor. Thousands of health professionals rose to the occasion. Thankfully, the severity of the pandemic was less than some had expected, but the strain and demand on the health care system was real and those involved in the response deserve to be thanked.
Given our current economic climate, the challenge for a progressive, compassionate, responsible provincial government is how to contend with a large deficit in a way that is fair to Ontarians -- without sacrificing our social, environmental or cultural sustainability. Our government will continue to confront these economic realities while staying true to our fundamental principles.
I know that as we move into 2010, many of you are dealing with personal challenges. And yet, so many of you give generously to the community. I see it every single day in my job. I just recently helped a crew of Celestica employees load and deliver thousands of pounds of food to the Flemingdon Food Bank. People from across the city responded to our Skate Drive and we have gathered dozens of pairs of skates for kids who don’t have any! There are hundreds of examples of individual and collective kindness seen this season and throughout the year, so thank you all for the things you do to make our community stronger.
There is always work that needs to be done, but we should also remember how blessed we are in this province.
Merry Christmas to those of you celebrating and happy holidays to you all!