Taras Natyshak

Chris Lewis to represent Progressive Conservatives in June 7 provincial election

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Progressive Conservative Party has its candidate for the June 7 provincial election.

Kingsville resident Chris Lewis has been acclaimed as the PC candidate and will try to wrest the seat from current Essex MPP Taras Natyshak, who is running again as the New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate.

“I am honoured, humbled and excited to carry the Progressive Conservative flag for the riding of Essex. Throughout the riding of Essex, I continue to hear that people desperately want change, lower taxes and a champion to finally complete the widening of Highway #3. I am ready to go to work when elected June 7,” said Lewis.

Lewis is a former member of Kingsville town council and a firefighter.

“Nothing inspires me more, and excites me than the pursuit of this MPP seat

for the PC party!” said Lewis. “I love this corner of Canada, and I strongly feel like it’s a ‘calling’ to represent this area I call home, at the leadership level.”

Lewis added that “I have three beautiful children, a lovely wife, great family and friends and I’m deeply committed to the residents of Essex for their long-term health, prosperity and happiness!”

Stating that “the riding of Essex is a great place to live and grow,” Lewis said he cares about its long-term viability as a sustainable region.

“I have always been committed to leaving the world a better place than I found it,” he said. “You know, someone once said that Essex County is like a microcosm of all of Canada! How’s this you may ask? We have fisheries, unsurpassed agriculture and food processing industry, mining, high technology and award-winning manufacturing, international trade, cutting edge research facilities, cultural diversity, world-class education and the list just goes on and on!”

Lewis believes “enough is enough” and “it’s time to respect the taxpayer and put their interests first!”

“I am an extremely good listener and I do not believe in putting a politician into an area they don’t know anything about!” he said. “The riding of Essex needs some real political traction and I intend to provide it! We need PC troops to fight this battle!”

Adding he is “very approachable,” Lewis added he is “extremely committed” to solving people’s problems “and, boy, do we have some major problems to fix.”

“I am a home-grown, longtime Kingsville resident, so being local, I have a thorough knowledge of what, we, in this area, need fixed! Ontario varies widely, and what North Bay needs is vastly different from our needs!” he said. “I am relatively young (41) and brimming with energy! I pay a great deal of value and credence to our young adults who often get side-tracked in the political arena.. Nothing inspires me more than the talents, energies and aspirations of our young adults.”

According to Lewis, Ontario’s debt is over $311 billion and the cost to service it is over $12 billion per year.

Chris Lewis will represent the Progressive Conservatives in the provincial election June 7. (Submitted photo)

“We will balance the budget!” he vowed. “Our kids should not have to pay for Kathleen Wynne’s blunders. It’s time to balance the budget and respect the taxpayers. The party is over. It’s all about the grassroots having a voice.”

Over 300,000 jobs have been lost in Ontario, said Lewis, and believed there is too much red tape, energy costs that are too high, and too much taxation including carbon and corporate taxes.

“We have the best minds, expertise and entrepreneurs, but we need the opportunities to use them,” said Lewis.

Lewis said health care needs improvement and that “patients are waiting in hallways and broom closets for health care!” He said the health care system is “broken” and said the PC party will listen to front line workers. The expansion of Highway 3 is another issue and accused the current Liberal government of sitting on their hands too long “at the risk of residents.”

The PC’s will review existing education curriculums “line-by-line” and amend it where necessary, he said.

Lewis said he will, if elected, give Essex “a voice for real representation” at Queen’s Park, provide a solid job friendly environment, reduce taxes, foster a safe living environment and “re-establish ourselves as a democracy.” He added he will be an advocate for the environment and work with municipal leaders to help resolve flooding issues.

“The PC party inherently understands the very grass root issues that taxpayers are facing. We understand that each region has unique needs, and we will work tirelessly across the province to ensure that these needs are addressed quickly and responsibly,” said Lewis. “Specific to our region, Ontario will not stop in London any longer under a PC Government. Essex will once again have a voice at the table to ensure much needed funding for our projects such as the widening of Highway 3. Families, businesses, young adults and seniors will once again be proud to be Ontarians and have access to an honest, transparent and responsible government.”

Lewis said he is “humble beyond belief by the outpouring of support” he has been receiving.

“Rest assured, this is not about Chris Lewis, it is about the electorate desperately wanting action and change, demanding the cost of living be lowered. The winds of change across Essex and Ontario are strong. I have had many folks tell me that they have voted a certain way for a long time, but this election they will be voting PC, as they know that it is vital to have a voice, a much-needed seat at the table with the government in power.”

Ontario PC leader Doug Ford also issued a statement where he congratulated Lewis for being the Progressive Conservative candidate for the Essex riding.

“I congratulate Chris‎ on his nomination as the Ontario PC candidate for Essex,” Ford said in a statement. “Chris is a great addition to our Ontario PC team. As an entrepreneur, business owner and a long-time resident of Kingsville, Chris has always been engaged in his community. He has a passion for community service, and always puts his community first.”

The only other known candidate for the Essex riding as of press time is Tyler Cook of the Libertarian Party.

CLEC receives provincial funding, funds evaluation of employment services

 

By Ron Giofu

Community Living Essex County (CLEC) received $27,400 from Ontario’s Local Poverty Reduction Fund and used it to evaluate its employment service.

The funding was put towards an independent evaluation by University of Windsor researchers into Career Compass, a CLEC-sponsored employment support service geared towards promoting inclusive hiring and finding employment for those with intellectual disabilities.

The research was performed by Kelly Carr, Laura Chittle, Sean Horton, Patricia Weir and Chad Sutherland from the department of kinesiology. Carr, a PhD candidate, along with CLEC executive director Nancy Wallace-Gero and director of supports overseeing Career Compass Rosa Amicarelli presented the results at a media conference April 4.

Community Living Essex County (CLEC) received $27,400 from Ontario’s Local Poverty Reduction Fund and used it to evaluate its employment service – Career Compass. From left: University of Windsor PhD candidate and researcher Kelly Carr, CLEC director of supports overseeing Career Compass Rosa Amicarelli, Community Living Essex County executive director Nancy Wallace-Gero, self-advocate Reggie Wilson and Essex MPP Taras Natyshak.

Carr explained there was a 2004 report that showed that people with disabilities were traditionally paid $8.66 – slightly higher than the minimum wage at the time – and mainly held sales and service industry jobs with no health benefits. The results of the research recommended a “strength-based employment service” which marketed job seekers for their strengths, promoted an untapped talent pool of employees and adopted more of a business-like approach.

Such recommendations would result in increased hourly wages and jobs outside the service sector, further income security by increasing hours of work including at permanent jobs outside the sales and services sector and allow for long-term considerations including medical and health benefits. Carr noted that qualitative and quantitative evaluations of workplace attitudes were taken with a strength-based employment services, as opposed to a social service approach.

Carr added that strength-based employment services resulted in “significantly higher wages” as well as an estimated 55-times greater likelihood of working outside the sales and services sector.

Amicarelli said that the University of Windsor’s results will be shared with the employment team, which consists of herself and four others.

Kelly Carr, a University of Windsor PhD candidate, fields a question during a media conference held at Community Living Essex County’s main office April 4. Carr was one of the researchers that evaluated CLEC’s employment service Career Compass.

Essex MPP Taras Natyshak was also on hand for an official cheque presentation, and said that upwards of 30 per cent of people in the next decade could be faced with some sort of disability. He said it makes business sense to hire people with intellectual disabilities as it is reflective of what is happening in society.

“We were very fortunate to get this grant,” added Wallace-Gero, adding Community Living Essex County was one of the few agencies in this end of the province to receive such funding.

“We will document proven strategies that move people with disabilities toward meaningful employment within a diverse and inclusive workplace,” she said. “This research will demonstrate the real shift occurring for people with disabilities; that is, a shift away from unemployment, isolation and poverty to a real career, inclusion and income security.”

The study originated in January 2017.

For more information on Career Compass, visit www.clecareercompass.org, call 519-776-6483, “Like” them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/clecareercompass or “Follow” them on Twitter at https://twitter.com/CLECareerCompas.

Cadets hold annual mess dinner with addition of friends, family, members of parliament

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

With more than 120 guests in attendance, including Essex MP Tracey Ramsey and MPP Taras Natyshak, the 202nd Fort Malden Windsor regiment Army Cadet Corps held their annual mess dinner, which also wrapped up their annual canned good drive.

“It’s actually a training night for cadets,” explained captain commanding officer, Jeff Turner. “It gives them the opportunity to see what a mess dinner is all about, how to behave, how to eat, how they have to march in, what they have to do with toasts, how to say grace and just basically how to socialize during a military mess dinner.”

Turner explained, previously the dinner was strictly for cadets, staff and selected guests such as past commanding officers. This year however, they allowed cadets to invite parents and a guest of their own choices.

The dinner was what Turner called a “traditional roast beef dinner,” cooked by the Legion and paid for by the support committee to ensure there was no cost to the cadets or the guests.

The 202nd Fort Malden Windsor regiment Army Cadet Corps held their annual mess dinner Dec. 20, with MP Tracey Ramsey and MPP Taras Natyshak in attendance. The evening also wrapped up their canned goods drive, which were donated to the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission.

During the dinner, cadets were also presented with a number of awards, one of them being from the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 157 pertaining to what the cadets and staff did during the poppy campaign and Remembrance Day activities. Another award was a certificate of recognition on behalf of Ramsey’s office.

“It’s a recognition of the work they have been doing throughout the year and what they have been achieving as they have been ranking up and everything that they are working on,” said Ramsey. “It’s just a small token for them to have to show the appreciation from the federal government for what they are doing for our country. It’s something that we do at the federal and provincial level just to thank people in the community for the work that they do and I just thought it would be nice for the cadets to have that tonight.”

For fun, the cadets also participated in a gift exchange. The evening also saw the end of their canned good collection, which was donated to the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission.

“It’s important for us to be here to honor them and to thank the leadership and thank the families and parents,” explained Natyshak. “The program instills such wonderful values, duty and responsibility, and respect and service. Any youth who has those values at their core by any standards is doing great so we want to thank them and congratulate them and celebrate the holidays as well.”

Ramsay, Natyshak hold Christmas open house

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Everyone from community leaders to the general public shared the Christmas spirit with the area’s two elected officials from the upper tiers of government.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey and Essex MPP Taras Natyshak co-hosted a Christmas open house at Ramsey’s office with the New Democrats looking back on 2017 as well as ahead to 2018.

Natyshak said he was able to achieve some legislative highlights provincially, including the bill he tabled to assist flooding victims in the county. Not only does that bill try and take measures to tackle the issue of flooding, but it also helps protect flooding victims from poor treatment from insurance companies.

“That’s something I was pretty proud to have passed,” he said.

Legislation regarding the extension of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for first responders was another achievement. Natyshak pointed out that work involved probation and parole officers, police services and now also includes bailiffs and special constables. Should they suffer from PTSD, it would be presumed they acquired it on the job. Natyshak notes that bailiffs, special constables and those in similar positions often see “horrific scenes” in the duties they are performing for the public and need their mental health needs looked after as well.

Natyshak, first elected in 2011, said just being able to help people is one of the highlights of the job.

“The joy is just being able to serve every day on behalf of the people of Essex,” said Natyshak. “The ability to help individuals is always going to be a powerful and special thing.”

Windsor-Essex County is “the best place in Canada to live,” he believed, and “the reason it is the best is because of the people who live here.

“I’m just so proud to be a part of the community and to represent this community,” he said.

2018 is an provincial election year but aside from that, Natyshak said the area’s economic metrics are improving.

“I think the sky is the limit for this community,” he said.

The vision remains to have quality education, health care and infrastructure and Natyshak believes those can be accomplished by working together.

“There are many highlights for 2017,” stated Ramsey.

The first item she mentioned was being able to bring new federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh to the area. One of his recent stops was at an agricultural facility, and Ramsey said agriculture is another one of her highlights for 2017.

“I’m proud of the relationships I’ve built with the agricultural community,” said Ramsey, noting she toured several facilities and farms earlier this year with Natyshak.

Ramsey said she is also proud of the work she has done helping seniors and working with her team to find solutions for their issues. She noted the NDP has a national pharmacare motion tabled in the House of Commons and she is proud of that as well.

Seniors have difficult choices to make, including whether they can afford medical needs such as prescriptions. Dental care for seniors is another issue she wants to work towards.

Essex MPP Taras Natyshak and Essex MP Tracey Ramsey co-hosted a Christmas open house at Ramsey’s office in Essex. The two NDP representatives have offices side-by-side.

Health of the Great Lakes is another file she has worked on and will continue to work on. Ramsey noted there was a tri-level meeting in her office this year on the issue and the work continues to find solutions to such issues as algae blooms and overall health of the lakes.

“Our communities are surrounded by water.”

The re-negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is something the NDP is carefully watching closely as well, Ramsey noted, adding that she has been sharing the area’s concerns as well as hearing the concerns of others during trips to Mexico and Washington. She said the United States has taken positions that Canada can’t accept but hopes the end result can still be one that is better than the current free trade agreement.

The current agreement doesn’t do enough to protect the environment or working people, she said.

“We’re pushing for a better NAFTA because there are flaws in the agreement that need to be fixed,” said Ramsey.

Ramsey added that she is watching the NAFTA negotiations for things that are important to local residents as well including issues that may impact the flow of people and goods across the border.

The other major highlight for Ramsey was going around the area for Canada 150 celebrations. Whether it was in Amherstburg or elsewhere in the county, Ramsey said she enjoyed seeing how the region celebrated the nation’s 150th birthday

Fight for support of nuclear plan reaches Queen’s Park

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The fight to get provincial support from the province for the town’s nuclear emergency plan reached Queen’s Park last week.

Essex MPP Taras Natyshak questioned Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Marie-France Lalonde about the level of support – or lack thereof – Amherstburg receives for its nuclear emergency plan in the Legislature last Wednesday. In attendance that day were Amherstburg fire chief Bruce Montone and deputy fire chief Lee Tome.

Montone believed things went well and hopes to hear from the province in the new year.

“From our perspective, it was handled extremely respectfully,” said Montone.

Montone stated Lalonde came across and chatted with both himself and Tome after the session and “we raised a number of concerns with her.” The fire chief added he believed Lalonde gained new information through the talk and that staff from the province will come to Amherstburg to further discuss the issues.

Following the adjournment of the Legislature for the day, Montone, Tome and Natyshak had a media availability in Toronto where they discussed the issue, including what the provincial and municipal responsibilities are. Montone said in addition to financial aid, the town needs scientific support and training support so that local emergency officials can stay current on the issue.

Essex MPP Taras Natyshak (left) listens as Amherstburg fire chief Bruce Montone discusses the town’s nuclear emergency response plan during a press conference in Toronto last Wednesday afternoon. (photo courtesy of the Amherstburg Fire Department)

“I was very optimistic when I left Queen’s Park (Wednesday) afternoon,” said Montone. “I certainly felt it was worthwhile. For me, I think it was very useful.”

Montone praised Natyshak for his stance on the issue and the way he advocated for Amherstburg and the region.

“He was very professional yet very firm in his support for us as were all of the local MPP’s,” said Montone. “Taras took hold of the issue and he certainly made (Wednesday’s events) happen. All the credit goes to him for creating the opportunity.”

The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs has also lent their support to Amherstburg’s cause.

“We’re getting support and acknowledgement from all kinds of areas,” he said.

Montone hopes to have further discussion and meetings with staff and provincial officials early in 2018.

In the Legislature Wednesday, Natyshak said the recent report from the auditor general “made it clear this Liberal government is not prepared to manage a major emergency in the province” and questioned when support can be expected locally.

“When will this Liberal government provide the same level of support to the town of Amherstburg as it does for other areas that receive assistance in the province?” he asked.

Lalonde replied that the province can and will act in cases of emergencies and that a new emergency action plan is being launched, one that will expand emergency management capacity between U.S. states and other provinces.

“None of this addresses the issues of Amherstburg,” responded Natyshak, noting the town has been raising questions since 2015. He accused the ministry of “effectively ignoring” the concerns of the town.

“Will the minister tell the House when people in Amherstburg and the entire region of Essex County can expect the same resources and assistance so they can plan to be as safe as other designated communities in Ontario?” asked Natyshak.

Lalonde replied that nuclear power has been a “backbone” of power in Ontario for 40 years and that the province is willing to work to enhance planning and training.

Natyshak noted the Fermi II nuclear generating station is located approximately 16 km away from Amherstburg. Windsor, Essex County and Amherstburg have all passed motions calling for stronger nuclear emergency response.

“Local leaders have been speaking out for years — calling for the Liberal government to finally wake up and realize that they are leaving southwestern Ontario municipalities to fend for themselves should catastrophe strike. It’s time for the Wynne government to finally take responsibility for emergency management and provide southwestern Ontario communities with the support they need.”

Natyshak told the RTT Friday that “this issue has been escalating to the level of crisis in that every day that goes by is a day that the community of Amherstburg is left vulnerable.”

The issue is now on the province’s radar, Natyshak added.

“They can’t ignore this issue any longer,” he said.

The town has a plan but needs funding and additional supports. Like Montone, Natyshak has optimism that the province is going to come to the table and work with the town. It’s an issue that needs about $100,000 in provincial dollars in addition to the other support.

“This isn’t going to break any budgets at the province,” said Natyshak, adding he is looking for parity in comparison to other municipalities that have a nuclear plant nearby.

The NDP MPP also noted the audience he, Montone and Tome had with the minister and they made it clear to her with the needs are. He called Montone “an incredibly knowledgeable person” and able to relay the town’s requirements to the province.

“It’s simply a matter of public safety,” he added. “We’ll keep fighting and keeping the pressure on. The ball is in their court.”