(Wellington-Halton Hills) – Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott spoke at the Grand Opening of Webster Place in Fergus on June 28. The following is the text of his remarks:
Good morning everyone!
It’s great to be here, and great to see all of you, as we celebrate the opening of Webster Place.
And it’s fitting and appropriate that we honour and remember one of the early founders of this community, James Webster, by naming this magnificent new public building after him.
James Webster was a Scot, of course, and being Scottish, and a Conservative to boot, he likely would have wanted to toast his new building with a wee dram of something stronger than tea!
But for his time, he espoused progressive thinking, and pushed to ensure our area welcomed not just the Scots, but settlers from other lands as well. In this, he was not just a Scot, he was a Canadian.
We honour him this year, the 150th anniversary of Confederation, as we recognize the proud national history we’re also celebrating this week.
One hundred and fifty years since Confederation:
And despite the rumour that might be going around, let me make something abundantly clear:
I was NOT serving in the Ontario Legislature in 1867!
We live in the best country in the whole world.
That’s not just a slogan. Pick up a daily newspaper, or turn on the news. Watch and listen how division and dishonesty are leading to disengagement and disharmony, in countries all around the globe.
Canada stands not quite alone, but we definitely stand apart, as a country where tolerance and respect for others allow us to successfully welcome new Canadians here from wherever they came from.
Together, from sea to sea to sea, we in Canada are the future.
And yes, as President Barak Obama said when he addressed our Parliament a short time ago, “the world needs more Canada.”
But we also know that great countries are an amalgam of great communities.
Wellington County is one such great community…truly great in so many ways, that those of us who are fortunate enough to live here sometimes don’t even notice.
A low unemployment rate. A low crime rate. Great schools, great health care.
Fine culture, recreational facilities, and heritage,
A clean natural environment and scenic beauty,
Prosperous farms and picturesque Main Streets,
Friendly hospitality, and people who care:
All of this “putting us on the map,” and making people want to visit. When they visit, they want to stay.
And great communities don’t just “happen.” Through the years, Wellington County Councils and Staff, as well as our local Councils and Staff deserve recognition for their leadership roles in making our County truly great.
Today, we have a very effective and visionary County Council, led by Warden Dennis Lever, and a very professional and productive Staff, headed by CAO Scott Wilson.
All of them together, County Council and Staff, have a positive attitude of teamwork, pride, and getting the job done. Many are here today, and we thank them for all they do for us.
Working together, they accomplish great things.
Think of the County’s Green Legacy Programme, which has led to the distribution of two million trees since its inception in 2004, and was the inspiration for Ontario’s Green Leaf Challenge tree planting programme, launched earlier this year as an Ontario 150 project.
Think of the exemplary response of our local Government authorities to the flooding emergency we experienced last weekend. What a great job everyone did.
And think of this fine building behind us, Webster Place, which will become home to many County seniors in the coming years.
With innovative co-generation heating and electricity, helping to conserve energy.
You know, public housing has been discussed ad nauseum over the years.
Some say decent, affordable housing should be a right in our society.
Others say with every right we grant, there should go a responsibility.
We know this for sure: in our Northern nation, decent housing is an absolute necessity.
We know seniors have special needs, and we owe them the best care possible.
We know that decent housing also gives its occupants pride and confidence.
We know that decent housing inspires the hope which everyone shares, wherever they live: a better, more secure future.
We know that public housing needs to be maintained, so that it lasts.
We know that housing must be built within the structure of a responsible budgetary framework, and costs must be carefully controlled.
And we know that all orders of Government have a duty to work together, reaching across Party lines if necessary, to ensure the right policies are in place to make housing available, affordable and accessible.
We acknowledge the builder of Webster Place, Ball Construction, and the architect, Grinham Architects, for their workmanship and professional expertise.
We now commend Webster Place to you. You who will live here.
Welcome to your new home!
Thank you very much.
– 30 –
Ted Arnott, MPP