Christmas is coming and the holiday festivities will soon begin.I want to extend my best wishes to you and your family for a safe and happy holiday.
We began the spring session with a budget that held two surprises. One, a projected $14.1 billion deficit — that’s larger than the deficit Bob Rae left us in 1995.
The Minister of Finance also surprised us with his government’s intention of implementing the HST. As you are well aware after all the media and communication surrounding this tax, HST will add eight per cent PST to a wide range of goods and services previously not subject to the PST. This massive new $3 billion tax grab will see Ontarians pay more for home heating, fuel for their cars, home Internet, recreation fees, gym memberships, legal and accounting services, vitamins, funerals and much more.
Summer brought us news of scandal after scandal. First the $1-billion e-Health scandal, OLG, WSIB and $81 million power plant in Windsor that has not put out one kilowatt of power and, finally, ministers forced to resign.
What makes people think they can get away with it?
As we reached the fall session, the economic statement revealed yet another surprise. In just 30 short weeks, the deficit ballooned from $14.1 billion to $24.7 billion. All of this government waste and we are still waiting for a positive response locally on Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital.
A bright light for me this year was Ombudsman Andre Marin’s agreement to investigate this government’s refusal to fund Avastin beyond 16 cycles. Avastin is a drug used by colorectal cancer patients. In his report, Morin stated the government’s cap on the drug is “unreasonable, wrong and verges on cruelty.”
I am thrilled for the people who will benefit and feel satisfaction that my efforts were finally recognized and the government was shamed into providing further treatments.
My focus will be to continue to press this government to recognize our hospital needs in Burlington and to strongly speak out on behalf of local residents.
Surely 2010 will be our year.
My best wishes for a Merry Christmas, happy holiday and a healthy, happy new year.