Essex MP

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.

Ramsey continues tradition of serving Christmas meals at mission

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

A Christmas Day tradition continued Christmas Day at the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission as the riding’s Member of Parliament once again stopped by to help out.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey helped serve Christmas dinner to the crowd of approximately 35-40 people and it was something she said she continues to enjoy doing.

“For me, it’s just a way to give back to the community,” said Ramsey. “I’m appreciative of what everyone does at the mission. It’s all about helping them serve and catching up with everyone.”

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey helped serve Christmas Dinner at the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission. From left: Lana Talbot, Ramsey, Gabrielle MacKinnon, Tim McAllister and Ted Laporte.

Ramsey said her family has a history of giving back, noting her grandparents’ involvement with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The spirit of giving has filtered through the generations with the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission also having a family connection, as Ramsey’s husband’s aunt Lana Talbot is a volunteer at the mission.

“It’s something we enjoy doing – giving back,” she said.

Christmas Day was not the first time Ramsey was at the mission in December, as she helped deliver canned goods and other food items there. The NDP MP explained that a “reverse advent” was held at her community office where people were encouraged to bring in cans or non-perishable food items daily with the proceeds going to a number of food banks and missions in the area.

“After the holidays are a tough time at food banks,” she explained. “We want to make sure their shelves are full.”

Ramsey said she is “amazed” at what happens at the mission as well as the other food banks in the area.

“All of the communities are so giving,” she said.

The mission is no stranger to having the local MP visit, as former MP Jeff Watson also made it a yearly tradition to come by the mission and help out on Christmas Day.

Tim McAllister, president of the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission’s board of directors, said they cooked six 22-pound turkeys as well as all of the trimmings for the Christmas celebration.

“It is a lot of work but we see the smiles, laughter and joy,” he said. “It’s worth giving up sleep to do it.”

McAllister said it was “a great Christmas” and that he calls it a “community dinner” as all the food was donated from various businesses and individuals.

“We didn’t have to go and buy anything for the meal,” he said. “The mission didn’t have to take money and buy anything. It is truly community based. Everything is donated. That makes us excited as we see the support from everyone.”

Essex MP visits St. Peter’s ACHS College School

By Jolene Perron

 

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey paid a visit to St. Peter’s ACHS last week, where she sat with the boys for lunch, and answered their questions.

Students and staff from St. Peter’s ACHS gathered for a group photo at the end of Essex MP Tracey Ramsey’s visit last week

“It’s good for the kids to know this is who we in the area voted into power,” explained headmaster Peter Thyrring. “They should know her and know what she is about. It’s a very cool and important opportunity.”

Thyrring explained they reached out to have Ramsey at the school last spring, and it was decided that she would come out to see them in the fall. Ramsey said the school was the recipient of their Canada’s Summer Jobs funding, where the local government provides funding for summer students across their riding.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey is greeted outside of St. Peter’s ACHS last week where she sat to have lunch and answer questions from students.

“It’s just about knowing what the students are interested in,” said Ramsey. “I like hearing that they are playing sports with teams up past Toronto, that they are engaged in their studies and really getting to learn what they are focused on here.”

The students asked questions about Ramsey, how she obtained her position in government, about the time she spends on Parliament Hill, and about how the Canadian government interacts with the United States government.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey answered questions from students at St. Peter’s ACHS last week.

“She represents government, she represents us, and it’s a good learning tool. How often do kids get to meet with members of parliament? The kids need to know they have a voice too and maybe one day they will be members of parliament,” said Thyrring. “We are a unique school to the area, we are the only boys school, we are the only type of private school like this so it’s good for her to know too, It’s good for her to know what’s going on in her backyard.”

Essex MP finds 2017 federal budget “disappointing”

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The release of the 2017 federal budget, which was last Wednesday, hasn’t overly impressed the Member of Parliament for Essex.

Tracey Ramsey said the 2017 budget that the governing Liberal Party presented is largely a rehash of the Liberals’ 2016 budget. She said there is some investment but it is “back-ended” over a ten-year period.

“The budget overall is disappointing,” said Ramsey.

Ramsey said the 2016 budget outlined issues relating to families, and she was hoping for more aid and relief for seniors in the 2017 budget.

“There’s nothing for seniors,” the NDP MP told the River Town Times.

Essex MP

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey

There is also little for small business and rural communities, she added.

“Again, there are campaign promises not coming through.”

Ramsey stated in a press release: ““The Liberals’ infrastructure privatization scheme ignores the needs of rural communities. Essex County needs investments in rail, highways and transit — not more user fees and tolls. Families and the seniors who built our country are deeply concerned about the high cost of living, but this budget does little to build a fair economy that lifts everyone up. The budget also missed a key opportunity to deliver a PACA-type program for produce farmers.”

The Liberals have placed Canada in “a large deficit” and Ramsey stated it is larger than originally anticipated. Promises to create jobs and invest in infrastructure haven’t been materializing like they should.

Full-time, good paying jobs aren’t being created like they should be, said Ramsey.

“Unfortunately the jobs we are seeing are part-time and precarious,” she told the RTT. “People’s lives aren’t improving overall.”

The NDP also wants to see stock option tax loopholes closed, with Ramsey stating that there is “a serious missed opportunity” by not doing that. If such loopholes are closed, more money could be put back into the pockets of seniors, veterans and every other Canadian citizen.

One of the infrastructure needs that has to be looked after is short-line railroads, with Ramsey stating that Essex Terminal Railway (ETR) wants to upgrade some of its rail lines in the area. That includes a line in Amherstburg.

Investing in short-line railroad is “critical to attracting new investment to the region,” said Ramsey.

There is a portion of the 2017 budget devoted to affordable housing, she continued, but much of that is “back-ended” as well. More needs to be done there as well as with child care as solutions need to be found for people in southwestern Ontario.

A “small amount” of cash is devoted to pharmacare but that is “far short” of where it should be, Ramsay added.

There also isn’t a strong enough commitment to the automotive sector, she added, and that the NDP want a federal manufacturing strategy. She said there is a lot of talk in the budget about innovation but no one innovates like the manufacturing industry.

“The NDP would like to see a manufacturing strategy from the government,” she stated.

The budget has “a lot of aspirations, but not a lot of concrete plans,” Ramsey added.

Former MP and family moving to Alberta

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Former Essex MP Jeff Watson and his family are moving to Alberta.

The next chapter in Watson’s life will be out west as the family have sold their Amherstburg home and will be heading to the Calgary area Nov. 14, per Watson’s Facebook page.

“I’m not at liberty to announce a new career yet. Negotiations to head up Western Canada region operations for a major national organization are ongoing, not concluded. I hope to have further news on that in due course,” Watson said online. “Rather, we’re continuing our season of family togetherness by adding new adventure: tall mountains, cool rivers and streams, dense forest, and skies that never seem to end. While losing the last election was difficult, it offered me the opportunity to deepen roots with a family that missed me even while living with me. I’m grateful for that.”

Watson wrote that he and his family “have come through grief to healing” after losing to New Democrat Tracey Ramsey Oct. 19, 2015.

Jeff WatsonWEB

“And so will come the grief of our next losses: leaving family, dear friends, the best church ever, those we had the privilege of serving for 11.5 years, my local Conservative family. Not to mention the losses for our kids: youth group, home school association, and neighbours whom they’ve known since infancy.

And memories,” Watson wrote. “A home filled with memories of the outrageously funny, and yes my far from perfection bad days; a home in which Sarah laboured and birthed our dear Ava and where our kids planned and executed a surprise welcome for Beatrice, lining the stairwell with banner unfurled as we arrived back from Nunavut. Lots of tears, fears, and growing pains.”

First elected in 2004, Watson said that “leaving doesn’t come easily” for his family as “Essex and Windsor are in our hearts and in our DNA.”

Watson said he has had “a passion for government and politics” since he was eight-years-old and said he plans on staying involved with friend Jason Kenney in his drive to become the next Premier of Alberta as well as helping the Conservatives in the 2019 federal election.

Watson and his family are hosting a farewell open house at the Buono Bar & Grill at the Verdi Club Nov. 10 from 5-8 p.m.