Essex MP

Ramsey maintains Christmas tradition at the mission


By Ron Giofu

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey maintained the tradition of the local Member of Parliament coming to serve meals at the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission.

Ramsey was at the mission again on Christmas Day were she volunteered to help serve Christmas dinner to those who attended. She was joined this year by her son Max.

“I got to know (mission president) Tim (McAllister) and got to know what they are doing,” the Essex MP said.

After initially being invited early in her first year as an MP to serve Thanksgiving dinner, Ramsey started doing Christmas that year as well and has been doing it the three years since she was elected. She indicated that it is a partnership she enjoys.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey helped serve Christmas dinner at the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission. From left: Ramsey, Aisha Barry, mission president Tim McAllister, Ted Laporte and Wanda Lawhead.

“It’s a wonderful group of people who come to celebrate Christmas,” she said. “It’s a family here. Everyone knows each other.”

Ramsey added that she was happy to see the volunteers come together and help out that day as well.

“I think it’s a wonderful sense of community that Tim has built,” said Ramsey.

The objective is not just serving people food, she added, but also the ability to allow people to get together and enjoy Christmas with others.

“It’s about fellowship and having people get together and be a part of something,” she said.

“I believe in people helping people,” said McAllister. “I am not doing this alone as I have the support of the community and the volunteers.”

McAllister said the mission “lights up” every Christmas.

“You see that glow on people’s faces, both young and old, as they smile and interact with each other,” he said. “They are not alone on this day. Seeing this gives me the strength to do what I’m doing.”

Ramsey helps out food banks in riding, including Amherstburg Food & Fellowship Mission



By Christian Bouchard


The downtown Amherstburg Food and Fellowship mission is stocking up for the holiday seasons thanks to a donation from the local NDP Member of Parliament.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey and her team collected canned good for 20 days to help keep the shelves of the local food banks full this holiday season. Ramsey asked for people to set up a box in their home and every day place one canned good or non-perishable item in the box. In the end, the boxes would be dropped off at her office and be picked up by one of the eight local missions in the riding of Essex. The cans were distributed evenly amongst all food banks in Essex County.

Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission president Tim McAllister stands with a van full of canned goods and other non-perishable items that were distributed by Essex MP Tracey Ramsey’s office.

“The generosity of people is incredible,” said Ramsey. “Unfortunately the need is growing across all five food banks in our municipalities. We know people are living with food insecurities. It really shows the vulnerability of rural communities.”

According to Tim McAllister, the president of the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission, the cans will help with those going through difficult times and to stock up as the number of donations starts to fall off after Christmas.

“When I see these cans, I see joy,” said McAllister. “People are going through difficult times and these cans will come to help us help them. We’re thankful to be part of this great festive occasion.”

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey chats with Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission president Tim McAllister.

McAllister also noted the mission puts on a Christmas dinner every year. He estimates he cooked 100 pounds of turkey last year.

“We don’t want people to spend Christmas alone,” added McAllister. “Anyone is welcome to come in and enjoy the day at the mission.”

Although McAllister, along with four other food banks left with a van full of canned goods, he added there are always people in need and the mission is always accepting donations.

“People can come in anytime and drop off donations and we are always grateful for what we get,” said McAllister.

Essex MP looking for answers regarding former Boblo dock



By Ron Giofu


The condition of the former Boblo dock along Front Road South remains a concern to many, with Essex MP Tracey Ramsey being one of those people looking for answers.

Ramsey said she has been hearing from the town and many of its residents about the dock since she was elected in 2015 and has fired off a letter to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Jonathan Wilkinson looking for immediate action. In her letter, Ramsey stated she is appreciative of the government’s efforts to date but many residents are still concerned about the dock’s safety “and believe that the actions the Government of Canada have taken thus far are only temporary measures.”

The issue of the Boblo dock and its decaying condition has been going on for “far too long and this is simply unacceptable.”

Ramsey noted in her letter that at the end of 2016, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Canadian Coast Guard completed an above water line inspection/survey of the Boblo Wharf and came back with a report over five months later.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey is pressing for answers from the federal government relating to the former Boblo dock. She has sent a letter to Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Jonathan Wilkinson.

“My office requested a briefing on this issue, only to learn that after almost two years, no decision has been made about the dock. And as of October 15, 2018, your department officials advised my staff that ‘a final decision on ownership is not anticipated before spring of 2020, as the potential use of Boblo dock for operations is part of an ongoing, multi-year, strategic infrastructure assessment being undertaken by the Canadian Coast Guard.”

Ramsey told the River Town Times last Thursday afternoon said that there is concerns that youths or others may go onto the dock and concerns are still present despite the federal government stating the dock is safe.

“I don’t know what that assessment is based on,” said Ramsey. “I’ve heard from people quite clearly out there it is not safe and they want this acted on.”

Stating that there are those interested in possibly repurposing the former dock and that area of the Detroit River shoreline, Ramsey said nothing can happen until concrete action is taken by the federal government.

The letter to Wilkinson was sent in late November and Ramsey stated she had not heard back from him as of last Thursday afternoon. She is hopeful for some sort of action early in the new year.

“We really want this issue resolved,” said Ramsey. “It’s very distressing (the federal government) expects us to wait another -year-and-a-half, almost two years. Residents are getting tired of being told they have to wait.”

The Town of Amherstburg “is doing their best” and she is working with town officials to try and get solutions to the problem.

“It’s not for lack of trying,” said Ramsey.

Amherstburg is not alone in having to deal with these types of issues, Ramsey suggested, as she called it “a systemic problem in Canada.” She said the federal government has an obligation to deal with matters such as the Boblo dock and vowed to press the government on the matter until they provide answers.

Ramsey sees positives, negatives in new USMCA trade deal


By Ron Giofu

With an trade agreement reached between the United States, Mexico and Canada, Essex MP Tracey Ramsey wants a closer look at it.

Ramsey, the NDP critic for International Trade and vice-chair of the Standing Committee on International Trade, said there is some good news for the auto sector that the USMCA trade deal has now been reached.

“I think a lot of people are relieved we have a deal,” said Ramsey. “The devil is in the details.”

The deal is a positive for the auto industry, Ramsey said, and noted it removes the 25 per cent auto tariff that had been bandied about by the Trump administration. However, the steel and aluminum tariffs still have to be contended with, she noted.

“For us in Essex County, this is a huge concern,” said Ramsey, noting the amount of jobs that are related to the industry.

One sector that is very concerned about the new trade deal is agriculture, the Essex MP pointed out.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (centre) spoke to the River Town Times recently about the new trade deal with the United States and Mexico. She is pictured with Windsor West MP Brian Masse and Windsor-Tecumseh MP Cheryl Hardcastle.

“Our farmers are very concerned. Once again, they made the sacrifices to get the deal,” she said. “This threatens family farms in Essex and our ability to have safe, local milk.”

There could be financial aid for farmers, she said, but that would be a short-term solution and not geared for the long-term.

“They need to make sure they can keep their family farms for future generations and this deal threatens it,” said Ramsey.

After a 60-day period to work on the text of the new trade deal, Ramsey said the public will be able to view it. Research is being done into the deal and Ramsey said it now gives the United States more power over Canada’s agreements with other countries. There is also concern Canada may have given up more than it gained in the new deal.

“As the details come out, we’ll be looking at how the deal affects us in our every day lives,” she said.

The future of the new deal also may hinge on U.S. mid-term elections, which are scheduled for next month. Ramsey said the U.S. Congress may look differently after early November.

Amherstburg well represented among MP’s Canada 150 medal recipients



By Ron Giofu


Essex MP Tracey Ramsey recently awarded approximately 40 Canada 150 medals and Canada Sesquicentennial Pins to people from around the riding and Amherstburg was no exception.

Ramsey said the medals were to “incredible people of Essex (County) who have really inspired me. I knew they should be recognized for their efforts.”

Ramsey said that being the area’s Member of Parliament since 2015 has opened her eyes to all of the work taking place in the area.

Eleven-year-old Gabby Wilkinson of Amherstburg (left) was one of about 40 recipients of Canada 150 medals presented by Essex MP Tracey Ramsey.

“You can live here your whole life and not realize the work being done around us,” said Ramsey. “In the past two years I was able to meet and connect with incredible individuals who have inspired me. I have the wonderful opportunity to work with people in our communities who dedicate themselves every day by showing how much they care about their neighbours, making life better for all those around them.  I am honoured to be able to recognize them for their outstanding efforts to make our community a better place with these special symbols of Canada 150. I want to thank every recipient for their continued generosity of spirit that makes our riding of Essex and Canada the best place in the world to live.”

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (left) presents a Canada 150 medal to ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo.

Among the recipients was Gabby Wilkinson, a student at Amherstburg Public School. Wilkinson was six-years-old when she had problems in math class with patterns. She received help in making patterns and that led to her making bracelets.

From there, Wilkinson started selling the bracelets at an Alzheimer fundraiser in Windsor and raised $68. “Gabby’s Gifts” evolved out of that and the local youth continues to volunteer and sell treats, crafts as well as her bracelets for numerous local charities and causes, including helping the homeless.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (left) presents a Canada 150 medal to Amherstburg Freedom Museum board president Monty Logan.

“I was nervous and excited,” Wilkinson said about getting the award. “It was a nice surprise.”

Wilkinson is now 11-years-old and in her fifth year of helping others.

Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission Tim McAllister was another local recipient. Born in Barbados, McAllister came to Canada and attended St. Clair College and became a welder. The married father of four worked in that field for several years before an auto accident involving a drunk driver cut his career short.

McAllister started volunteering with the mission with founders Andy and Pat Gervais and would eventually become president, a position he has held for the last 17 years. He is also a board member at Matthew House in Windsor. He has also won other numerous awards for his efforts.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (left) presents a Canada 150 medal to Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission president Tim McAllister.

“As president of the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission, I have found great pleasure in our motto ‘People Helping People’,” said McAllister. “I didn’t volunteer to receive this award but on behalf of my board of directors and volunteers, I do it with a humble and thankful heart. For all of those who volunteer and support the mission, I thank you.”

Kathy DiBartolomeo, executive director at Amherstburg Community Services (ACS), was another of the medal recipients. DiBartolomeo started volunteering with ACS in 2007 as a way to give back and to support the community. She worked her way up the ladder and by 2009, she had shown the skills and passion to become the executive director.

With DiBartolomeo at the helm, ACS is in the Amherstburg, McGregor, Harrow and LaSalle communities and assists thousands of people who are vulnerable, elderly or in need. She is also willing to volunteer her time to assist other organizations who need a helping hand.

“I am very honoured and humbled by this Canada 150 medal,” DiBartolomeo stated. “To be recognized for what you love to do is rewarding and gives me and my staff the encouragement to continue serving  our community.

Team Ontario – a group of Essex-Windsor EMS members who won back-to-back gold medals at the Ralleye Rejviz international paramedic competition – were honoured by Essex MP Tracey Ramsey (centre) with Canada 150 medals. Amherstburg native Lance Huver is second from left.

Monty Logan was also recognized with a Canada 150 medal and pin. Logan, president of the Amherstburg Freedom Museum’s board of directors, was elected to that position in 2012, after joining the board the previous year.

Logan has helped guide the museum through key strategic, infrastructure, programming and fundraising initiatives as well as a transformation from the former identity as the North American Black Historical Museum to the Amherstburg Freedom Museum. Two elements of the transformation are complete – the curated archive on the Underground Railroad and the Amherstburg Freedom Summit. The final component is the Amherstburg Freedom Institute, which will focus on promoting solutions to address social and economic challenges facing young people today.

“It’s awesome to be honoured for the work we do at the museum,” said Logan. “More importantly, it’s getting our name out there. It’s an honour to be recognized for the work we do.”

Several police officers were among the medal recipients, including Amherstburg police chief Tim Berthiaume. Berthiaume, who has spent his entire career in Amherstburg, was contacted by the RTT and he said he was happy to be recognized.

“I am honoured and humbled to be recipient of the Canada 150 Medal,” said Berthiaume.

Team Ontario, the group of Essex-Windsor EMS paramedics that won gold at the Rallye Rejviz international competition, was also honoured. EMS Team Ontario members Chris Kirwin, Shawn May, Lance Huver and Mike Filiault made up the 2017 team with Huver being an Amherstburg native.