Some people judge a community by its affluence. Others by its natural beauty. Or its industry. I measure a community by its spirit – which is why I’m so proud to be your MPP.
At no time in memory has the spirit of West Niagara been on fuller display than during the whole sorry saga of the Liberal’s decision to scrap the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital project. This brazenly broken promise was a devastating blow for our community – and especially for those of you who fought so hard to see it through. I saw first-hand this passion and dedication as 10, 000 of us gathered together to rally in support of WLMH. We stood proud and unified as our fight to ‘Make a Difference’ began.
For my part this past week, I was humbled by the opportunity to table a petition at Queen’s Park calling on the government to restore funding to the WLMH project, signed by over 12, 000 West Niagara residents as part of the campaign. Only rarely have a I witnessed a petition reach this size by signatures from across the province. For a single community it is simply extraordinary.
I was proud to be part of a team that included Mayors Bentley, Hodgson, and Joyner along with many other local elected officials who joined me in the House as I brought all of your voices to Queen’s Park.
This remarkable effort is the result of the efforts of hundreds of dedicated volunteers who canvassed the streets, attended community events and stood outside grocery stores to collect each and every signature they could. I extend my deepest thanks to the men, women, and children who gave up their time to fight for what is right and what they believe in. This is the mark of an outstanding community that can really rally together and move mountains when called upon to do so.
I’d also like to acknowledge the efforts of Norm Beal and the rest of the Peninsula Ridge Founders’ Club which put on a fantastic event last week in support of the WLMH Foundation and the McNally House Hospice at this year’s Jazz on the Ridge Gala. To date they have raised over $500, 000 in support of local charities. My wife Debbie and I were delighted to join with the many local residents who attended in support of these great causes.
We all acknowledge that the government’s decision to cancel WLMH was a significant setback for our community and our hospital, but I am confident we will see this project through. It’s simply a matter of when – not if. Supporting this petition was an important step in delivering our message that we really can ‘Make a Difference’.
The outpouring of support for our hospital in the difficult weeks since the budget came down has reinforced what a great community we live in and what a worthy project this is. And for that I say thank you.