Tracey Ramsey

Federal Conservative candidate holds meet and greet with local supporters



By Ron Giofu


The federal Conservative candidate is a familiar face for those who followed the provincial election earlier this year but he took the opportunity to meet some of his supporters again recently.

Chris Lewis, who finished 2,711 votes behind NDP incumbent Taras Natyshak in June’s provincial election, has now secured the federal nomination in the Essex riding and will challenge another NDP incumbent – Tracey Ramsey – in next year’s national election. Lewis held a meet and greet at Sanson Estate Winery in McGregor where he met with supporters and sought donations for the upcoming election campaign.

“It’s going fantastic, full of energy,” Lewis said of his campaign thus far. “There are so many people saying now is the time for change.”

Essex Conservative candidate Chris Lewis met with local supporters recently at Sanson Estate Winery in McGregor.

Lewis said it is now “all about jobs,” particularly since General Motors will be pulling 2,500 jobs out of Oshawa. He stated diversification has to be looked at and Canada has to “open the market for new business.”

“Getting rid of the carbon tax is important to us,” he said.

Working together and building bridges is key to moving forward in the future, Lewis added.

Believing that the Conservatives are “worth another look,” Lewis said that local members of the party call former Essex MP Jeff Watson the “$2 billion dollar man” for investments he brought to this area.

“Unless you have a voice in government, you won’t really have a say,” he said, optimistic about Andrew Scheer’s chances of forming a government after the 2019 federal election.

The name recognition Lewis gained during the provincial campaign is something he believes gives him a head start in his federal campaign. He plans on knocking on as many doors as possible to promote Scheer’s vision, which is to put Canada “back on the map” globally.

Lewis added that while he wants to engage seniors and today’s adults, he also wants to engage youth.

“I’m doing this for our future,” he said.

Telling supporters he is “so proud of our team,” Lewis added “I wouldn’t want to be the NDP, I wouldn’t want to be Tracey,” though added he doesn’t plan to run a smear campaign.

“It’s not the way God made us,” he explained.

Calling Scheer “a very fantastic man” and a “dynamite leader,” Lewis said he was proud to carry the banner for him in Essex.

“We can win this,” he told his supporters. “We can make Essex blue again. We can make the Watson family proud again.”


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.

Harrow Fair presented for 164th time



By Ron Giofu


A Labour Day weekend tradition continued in Harrow for the 164th time last weekend.

The Harrow Fair ran last Thursday through Sunday with such events as the pie auction, parade, 4-H Club competitions, the midway and more keeping people busy over the four days. Luke Korcok, the president of the Harrow Fair board, thanked not only the public for attending but the committee members and the volunteers for helping out.

“A lot of hours have been put in to make sure we have a successful festival,” said Korcok, adding preparations for the 2019 Harrow Fair are already underway.

Home craft director Rose McLean also thanked the volunteers as well as those who attended.

Sarah Parks waves to the crowd during the Harrow Fair Parade Sept. 1.

“If you people didn’t come out, there would be no reason to have the Harrow Fair,” she told the crowd at Thursday night’s opening ceremonies.

McLean added that roughly 6,000 volunteer hours were spent organizing the Harrow Fair.

“What a tradition – the Harrow Fair,” commented Essex Mayor Ron McDermott.

Essex MPP Taras Natyshak brings greetings during the opening ceremony of the Harrow Fair. The 164th annual fair runa from Aug. 30-Sept. 2.

McDermott, who is not seeking re-election this fall, said it has been his honour to represent his ratepayers as mayor for 15 years and welcome people to the fair.

“It’s been my honour and privilege to thank you for everything you’ve done with the Harrow Fair,” McDermott told organizers.

Warden Tom Bain said it is an event for the entire county to enjoy.

“I think if you are a good county person, you’ve got to go to the fair,” said Bain. “If you want to have fun, you go to the fair. It’s a great family event.”

A quartet of women take a ride during the Harrow Fair parade Sept. 1.

In addition to also thanking the volunteers, Essex MP Tracey Ramsey also thanked those who bid on pies in the pie auction, as all proceeds went to the John McGivney Centre in Windsor.

“I love coming to the fair. I’ve been coming to the fair my whole life,” said Ramsey. “It takes an army of people to make such an event successful.”

Ramsey pointed out the fair has been a multi-generational affair and one that helps promote the health of the community and bolster the economy.

“It’s a wonderful tradition,” added Essex MPP Taras Natyshak. “It kicks off the end of the summer.”

Local MP’s band together to discuss auto trade tariffs



By Ron Giofu


The three local NDP MPs came together recently for a closed door meeting with stakeholders on the issue of tariffs between Canada and the United States.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey, Windsor West MP Brian Masse and Windsor-Tecumseh MPP Cheryl Hardcastle held a joint meeting with industry stakeholders at the Ciociaro Club before holding a public meeting on the subject later the same night.

Following the afternoon closed door session, the three Members of Parliament met with the media to discuss what was said and how to proceed. Ramsey indicated that “we need to be prepared” for the impacts the tariffs could have on the area and said the meeting saw representation from labour and management.

“Underlying all of this action today is that we can work together,” said Ramsey. “We should be working together.”

Ramsey said “we need to have a voice” on the issue and questioned whether U.S. President Donald Trump is using the issue as a “leverage point” in ongoing NAFTA negotiations. Ramsey expects negotiations on NAFTA to last into 2019, stating that “a lot of work needs to be done” on the matter.

There needs to be “an action plan,” she added, to assist businesses and industries that are impacted by the tariffs.

Essex MP Tracey Ramsey speaks to the media following a meeting with industry stakeholders on the issue of tariffs with the United States. Also pictured are Windsor West MP Brian Masse and WIndsor-Tecumseh MP Cheryl Hardcastle.

“We need to provide them with some tools with some things they can do,” said Ramsey.

Masse said the area is “resourceful” but said the issue has a bigger impact than a growing personality dispute between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Trump.

“As they have their tiff in their sandbox related to their personalities, the reality is people have to pay a mortgage, they want to build a car or want to build a product,” he said. “They want to send a son or daughter to college and they want to actually engage in their communities and be successful.”

Masse added that “this personality tiff between the Prime Minister and the President needs to be isolated between the two people.”

Markets such as Asia will look to take advantage of the trade dispute and cause “irreparable” damage, he believed.

“We’re doing it to ourselves,” said Masse.

Hardcastle said the companies they spoke to in the afternoon session are worried about their cash flows being impacted with that possibly amounting to “hundreds of thousands of dollars a month.” Help from the federal government needs to arrive quicker, she added, and that delays are negatively impacting area industries and businesses. There is one case, she indicated, where there is a five-month delay.

Hardcastle also said the area needs to be working together on this issue. She believes businesses on both sides of the border share the common goal of being prosperous.

“The border is not something that separates us,” Hardcastle stated. “We have to think like the river binds us, the river connects us.”

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.