It has been an exciting start to my first term as the Member of Provincial Parliament for Beaches-East York. Every day since June 12, I have been waking up with a renewed sense of purpose – to earn the trust that was placed in me by the voters of this fantastic riding.
I was sworn in en masse with my colleagues in the legislature and witnessed David Onley, an inspirational man, deliver his last throne speech as Lieutenant Governor. I delivered my inaugural speech in the legislature and got to stand up and vote for the most progressive budget in more than a generation, a budget that puts Ontarians first by investing in infrastructure and social services.
Our government is committed to spending $130 billion over 10 years for infrastructure investments and capital spending in schools and hospitals.
In our riding, I will be advocating for much-needed investments, such as completing the Ken and Marilyn Thompson Client Care Wing of the Toronto East General Hospital.
Over the next decade, the province will spend $15 billion across the GTHA to reduce gridlock and expand and improve public transit service. I want to make sure Beaches-East York receives funding to better connect the Danforth GO and Main Street TTC stations, creating a transit hub in East Toronto.
In late July, we officially opened my constituency office at 1821 Danforth Ave. I was very pleased with the warm welcome. More than 100 community members and local VIPs were in attendance, including former Beaches-East York MP Maria Minna, “Mayor of the Beach” Gene Domagala, President Emeritus of the Beach Hebrew Institute Arie Nerman, and Imam Mohammad Kamruzzaman of the Danforth Community Centre mosque.
Now that we’re up and running, my staff and I are committed to serving local residents and helping them find solutions. I truly hope that my office will come to serve as a community hub and resource.
I am honoured that Premier Wynne appointed me as the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. The Minister, Jeff Leal, is from the rural riding of Peterborough. As his urban colleague, we will make a great team to bring the farm to the city and vice versa.
Farmers feed cities, and cities enrich farmers – a fact well understood by the people of Beaches–East York, if the area’s farmer’s markets and independent shops selling local goods are any indication.
During the campaign, I promised to re-introduce the “Tipping Bill.” If passed, it would prohibit business owners from taking a portion of the tips earned by employees, such as restaurant servers. The previous MPP for Beaches-East York started this discussion and worked with our government to come up with legislation that nearly passed. I brought the bill back this past session and it will be going to committee in the fall, where the public will be invited to help improve it.
I have truly enjoyed the learning experience that has come with being an MPP. It is a privilege to take part in the many traditions and procedures that are at the foundation of our parliamentary system. More importantly, however, I’m getting to know more and more about our community.
So many organizations, business owners and individuals are working tirelessly to build a better community, a better Ontario and ultimately, a better world. The house has adjourned until Oct. 20, which allows me more time to meet with you and those organizations to find out how I can help.
And that’s the most exciting part of my job!
Arthur Potts is the Member of Provincial Parliament for Beaches-East York