“Another New Year is upon us and where has 2012 gone? But as fast as time flies, I look at it this way: It won’t be long before Ontario’s comeback can begin.

“2012 was far harder than it should have been. Our debt has grown so big that it’s unsustainable, and spending is so high that it’s unaffordable. 600, 000 men and women without a job and another 400, 000 on welfare is a tragedy.

“The government shuttered your Legislature and walked off the job just when people expected their leaders to rise to the occasion and confront the challenges we face.

“But here’s the good news: As I’ve travelled our province this year, I’ve met more and more people who are willing to stand up and say we’re better than that. There’s a better path for Ontario if only we have the courage to take it.

“A path that builds on all the things we should be thankful for about our beautiful province, not just at Christmas, but always: Smart, skilled, inventive people; abundant natural resources in demand around the world; caring communities; and above all, a commitment to hard work.

“We can put the bad news behind us starting tomorrow, if we’re willing to make the tough choices – the bold choices – that need to be made for our province. Just like the choices so many of you have had to make for your households in these trying times.

“If we pick our priorities, and refocus our energies on the things that really matter, then Ontario will be more than “okay”. Ontario will be great again. A place the world marvels at again. That’s out goal – as expressed in our Paths to Prosperity white papers, which have everyone talking about how Ontario can rise again.

“So for this New Year’s especially, I wish each of you peace of mind and the love of family and friends. Keep your chins up and hang on a little longer, because help is on the way.”