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Wilson outlines priorities for new session at Queen’s Park

The Ontario Legislature resumes sitting on September 11 and I wanted to take this opportunity to outline my priorities for the coming session.

I expect the Legislature to be very busy this fall as the 2018 election campaign approaches. A number of important initiatives will be debated in the House during this sitting.

My top priority will continue to be the redevelopments of Collingwood General and Marine Hospital and Stevenson Memorial Hospital in Alliston. Both of these projects are absolutely critical for the residents of Simcoe-Grey and I will be pressuring the Liberal government to move forward on these files.

In June, the House unanimously passed my Private Member’s resolution to immediately approve the planning grants for both projects. It’s now time for the government to deliver. Both hospitals have been spending their own money on the redevelopment projects. This is money that could otherwise be used for patient care. It’s now time for the Wynne government to release the money to move the projects to the next phase.

I look forward to continued robust support for the projects from the local communities. Keep writing letters and let’s make sure the government listens and acts.

This fall, I will persist with my efforts to get the government to clean up the beachfront in Wasaga Beach. Many areas of the beach are overgrown with weeds and maintenance has been lacking. My petition calling on the government to clean up the beach will be presented to the Legislature when the House resumes. I encourage all local residents to sign the petition. We must keep up the pressure until the government moves on this file.

Wasaga Beach does not have traditional industry and relies on the beautiful beach to attract visitors to our town. Tourists coming to our area should not be met by beaches overgrown with weeds and washrooms that desperately need to be upgraded. We need a clean and pristine beach and modern facilities. Our local economy depends on the beach and the current situation is unacceptable.

When the House resumes sitting I will continue to press the government to extend relief funding to farmers in the south end of New Tecumseth and parts of Adjala-Tosorontio negatively affected by summer flooding. This issue continues to be a cause for concern and the damage to crops in that area could be in the tens of millions of dollars. There is relief funding available for local residents, but it does not apply to larger farms and agricultural operations. So far, the Ontario government has ignored the plight of our farmers.

I continue to have concerns about Bill 148 – the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. I have spoken directly to numerous business owners and employers in my riding and they are worried about the impacts of increasing minimum wage 32% in 18 months. Everybody agrees, workers deserve fair wages, but the concerns of employers should not be ignored. I worry there will be unintended consequences if this Bill passes without amendments. I don’t want to see workers get hurt by a Bill that is supposed to help them.

Bill 148 will be before the House early in the session. I expect a lot of debate about its impacts and I hope amendments will come forward to help businesses deal with these changes.

Finally, I’m pleased to see the government has committed to finishing the Highway 26 project in Collingwood. For more than five years I demanded the government complete the highway. Jobs and economic development in Collingwood were being held up by the delay. Local residents and leaders helped persuade the government and it’s gratifying to see the project moving ahead.

I hope everybody had a great summer and I look forward to a terrific fall.

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