Taras Natyshak

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.”

 

Natyshak seeks relief for flooding victims

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Some relief could be on the way for flooding victims if a bill introduced by Essex MPP Taras Natyshak gets the final OK.

A private members bill, known as Bill 179, was introduced Thursday and has passed second reading. The bill is geared towards not only helping reduce flooding, but to help expand the province’s Disaster Recovery Assistance Program and to prevent flood victims from being “penalized” by the insurance industry.

“The impetus of the bill is borne out of the flooding we’ve seen since 2006 including the fall of this year,” said Natyshak.

Natyshak said the first portion of his bill would change the Ontario Building Code and require new home builds have a 204-litre rain barrel to hold some of the water that accumulates during rain events.

“That first provision is neat because it is borne out of speaking with the FIRST Robotics team at Holy Names high school,” said Natyshak.

Essex MPP Taras Natyshak

The students have been studying the issue of managing the increasing amount of rainfall in their community.

“These kids are so bright. They are creative and eager to learn and share their ideas,” said Natyshak. “I was blown away by their diligent research and have incorporated the rain barrels into the legislation I’m proposing to help families mitigate the damage that severe flooding has done to homes in this area in the past few years.”

While 204 litres may not seem like a lot, he said that adds up when multiplied over 1,000 homes.

According to a news release sent by Natyshak’s office, there is evidence that rain barrels can be an effective option. The release notes that in Wingham, 1,000 barrels were distributed and with a 58 per cent participation rate, the community saw a five per cent reduction in rainwater processed by the municipality’s storm water management system. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has also conducted two pilot studies on rain barrels; one in Stratford, PEI looked at the use of downspout-connected rain barrels in response to increased claims from extreme weather events and found damages to homes was significantly lessened.

“It’s a cheap solution to an expensive program,” he said.

Natyshak’s Bill amends three acts to further protect victims of flooding: the Insurance Act, Building Code Act 1992 and Municipal Affairs Act.

“It’s clear to me that people in this region are suffering as a result of climate change,” said Natyshak. “The amount of rainfall in the past few years has meant that more and more families have been forced to complete expensive repairs – and also that insurance companies are looking for new and creative ways to deny claims. This bill deals with that.”

The NDP MPP stated that people who may never have had a prior claim can have their claim cancelled or someone may be talked out of making a claim for fear their insurance could be cancelled.

“To me or to the people affected, that doesn’t seem fair,” said Natyshak. “They can’t control where the rain falls.”

There are concerns that entire neighbourhoods could be uninsurable if things don’t change, Natyshak suggested.

There would also be wider coverage to assist those who are impacted by sewer backups, he added, should be bill receive final approval.

The bill has received unanimous support in the Legislature thus far, said Natyshak, but “ultimately the ball is in the government’s court if it is to go any further. He is hopeful the bill will proceed and receive due process.

“It gets the issue on the radar for homeowners and politicians,” he added, of Bill 179. “There has to be something we can do. We can’t do nothing.”

Remembrance Day in Amherstburg features largest parade since WWII ended

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Remembrance Day in Amherstburg was even more memorable than ever this year.

While Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 did its usual excellent job organizing the parade and the service at the cenotaph, it was made extra special this year due to the parade’s size. Capt. Richard Girard, zone Sgt. At Arms, told those who marched that it was the largest parade in Amherstburg since the conclusion of World War II in 1945.

The Remembrance Day parade heads westbound on Richmond St. en route to the cenotaph.

“This is the proudest day I’ve had in a long time,” Girard told the parade participants after its conclusion outside of Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 Saturday morning.

The ceremony at the cenotaph included the roll call of all Amherstburg veterans who died at war and also included two minutes of silence to remember all of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey offered thanks to all of those who served Canada and also thanked the young people who attended the Remembrance Day ceremony. That included the members of the 202 Fort Malden Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps.

A member of the #202 Fort Malden Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps salutes as part of Nov. 11 ceremonies.

Ramsey also read a poem sent to her from St. Thomas of Villanova Secondary School student Kathleen Drouillard, which captured the spirit of the day.

“It’s incredibly important that young people understand the sacrifices made by so many to have the freedom we have today,” said Ramsey.

Essex MPP Taras Natyshak said people have the “solemn obligation to remember” and that he was honoured to be in the presence of all of the veteran on Remembrance Day. Natyshak stated that “peace came with so much sacrifice” and that veterans need to be taken care of when they are at home.

Capt. Richard Girard, a Korean War veteran, salutes after laying a wreath in memory of his brother.

“Our debt is a debt that can never be repaid but by being here, we honour their sacrifice,” he added.

CAO John Miceli represented the town of Amherstburg and he read an address from Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, who was recovering from surgery. DiCarlo’s remarks, as read by Miceli, noted that “we are a better country” because of our veterans and that it is sad many are now passing away.

“The young generation of today will not have the honour of knowing our veterans like we have,” Miceli read.

The mayor added, via the CAO, that today’s youth need to be educated on the sacrifices of veterans and added “liberties and freedoms didn’t come by chance, but by the sacrifices of men and women.”

The Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157 colour guard leads the Remembrance Day parade back to the branch Nov. 11.

Laurie Cavanaugh, president of Royal Canadian Legion Br. 157, thanked those who participated in the parade and all of those that attended the Remembrance Day service. She added the cadets stood guard at the cenotaph late Friday night as part of their tribute.

Cavanaugh added there were a lot of volunteers that helped make the Remembrance Day parade and service a reality and that the Legion was grateful for their efforts.