Tracey Ramsey

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.

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.”

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.”

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