February 15, 2010
Have you all caught Olympic fever? A sombre note on Friday when the young Georgian luge racer died tragically—my prayers are with his family.
But I have to say that I thought the opening ceremonies hit a perfectly Canadian chord. I loved the scale of it—the tiny people and huge nature. I loved the shared glory—our older heroes carrying the flag and three athletes assisting Gretzky light the big torch. I think Richard Ouzounian in the Star missed the point in his review when he called the message ‘mediocre’—unless he believes that word defines us. Not me, I think it was great. And ‘Hallelujah’ for k.d. lang’s voice!
As you know, the recent Cabinet shuffle moved many of us into new portfolios. I am now the Minister of Transportation—a very different and interesting challenge. I have loved my more than three years in Education, and I will always think about and care about education.
Having said that, our transportation challenges as a province are immense. Last week, I visited the Ministry of Transportation office in Sault Ste. Marie, travelled Highway 17 to Wawa, and learned about some of the challenges of winter road maintenance and bridge construction. We also stopped at a truck inspection station where I had a chance to observe the rigour with which we monitor truck loads, driver safety and the use of speed limiters on the big trucks that carry the goods we all need across this country. Our rural and northern geography require ingenuity and vigilance.
As it pertains to our cities, our job as a government is about dealing with increased congestion and making up for lost time on the transit-building front. We’ve made a good start over the past few years with the sharing of the gas tax across municipalities, but here in the GTA we have to get more transit links built across Toronto out to the east and west and north—especially to the airport. Those plans have been developed by Metrolinx and a big part of my job is to make sure we stay on track (so to speak).
On a more political note, over the next year and a half I will be working with Greg Sorbara and the former provincial Liberal party president, Gord Phaneuf, to prepare us all for the October 2011 election. It’s a real privilege to have the opportunity to take on these two new challenges.
On Tuesday, the Legislature resumes. Glen Murray takes his seat as the new member for Toronto Centre. Congrats to all who helped secure that victory and a warm welcome to Glen who will be an outstanding addition to our Caucus.
I hope you all are having a relaxing Family Day.
All the best,