Christmas is a special time of the year for many in the Carleton riding and across Canada. Houses and businesses are decorated. We greet strangers with a smile and say Merry Christmas. Christmas carols and popular songs take over the radio airwaves and are heard throughout the community. These songs provide a warm soundtrack for so many of our memories – memories of our childhood or memories of times spent with our families.
As Andy Williams so famously sang in a song that remains popular 60 years after it was recorded, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”
As the MPP for Carleton, Christmas provides an opportunity to meet and greet people throughout the riding. And there is no better an occasion to say hello to old friends and meet new ones than a parade.
It doesn’t matter if it is called a Santa Claus Parade or a Parade of Lights or a Holiday Parade, a parade is something that brings the community together. Sometimes the weather is beautiful, with warm sunshine piercing through the early winter air, or a crisp and clear winter evening with stars filling the sky.
Sometimes, however, the weather doesn’t co-operate. Despite a cold and rainy night in Manotick, hundreds upon hundreds of local residents lined Manotick Main Street on the evening of Fri., Dec. 1. I was able to say hello and share a smile and a few words with countless people – some whom I have known for years, and some whom I was meeting for the first time. I said hi to many children who gave me a high five. Their eyes were wide enough to have their own postal codes and the excitement dripped off their faces as they were waiting to see Santa Claus, the star of the parade in the last float.
It reminded me that for many people or for many families, the parade is an opportunity to celebrate community and friendship with neighbours. For the kids, however, it’s all about St. Nick. It might be just another parade or evening out for the parents, but seeing Santa Claus waving to them at the end of the parade is a memory that will likely stay with them forever.
The local community associations and service clubs in our area deserve a tremendous amount of credit from all of us. They organize and co-ordinate the parade route and floats, they work with the city on road closures, and their volunteers are out in full force ensuring that the parades remain safe and enjoyable for everyone.
If you ever felt the desire to give back to the community and to make sure that events like the Christmas parades remain memorable, joining a service club such as the Manotick Kiwanis Club or the Richmond Lions Club is a great way to do that. You always hear people say it takes a village to raise a child. But in the Carleton riding, it takes a strong service club full of dedicated volunteers to create that village.
So, thank you to everyone who gave up their time to volunteer for the parades, thank you to the local businesses who took part, supported, and sponsored the parades, and thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate the holiday season by attending the parades!
Next Generation 9-1-1 Will Save Lives
Ontario is investing $78 million in telecommunications infrastructure to help municipalities and emergency response centres transition to a new emergency communications system known as Next Generation 9-1-1. The funding is part of the government’s $208 million investment to help emergency operators and dispatchers save more lives by transitioning to the enhanced Next Generation 9-1-1.
Included in the investment into emergency communications is nearly $3.9 million in funding to Ottawa. The Ottawa Police Service will receive $2.500,196, while the Ottawa Fire Service will receive $1,390,023.
This new system will enhance the effectiveness of our emergency response system for everyone from dispatcher to first responders, as well as the police and firefighters. The new system will connect those in need with emergency responders in a more timely fashion. This will help save lives in the large rural area of Ottawa, including the riding of Carleton, as well as in the more heavily populated village, suburban and urban communities throughout the city.
About Next Generation 9-1-1
To successfully transition to the Next Generation 9-1-1 system, significant technology and infrastructure upgrades are required. These upgrades include new telephony systems, call handling systems, internal network infrastructure and cyber security infrastructure.
Once implemented, Next Generation 9-1-1 will enable voice, text messages and data to flow seamlessly from the public to 9-1-1 communications centres when emergency assistance is required. It will also give emergency operators and dispatchers the ability to identify the location of a call using GPS coordinates, resulting in a safer, faster, and more informed emergency response.
Emergency communications centres across the province have until March 4, 2025, to transition their networks from analog to digital as mandated by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
Our government takes public safety seriously, and is committed to ensuring that when an emergency happens, Ontarians can access the services they need.
Emergency operators, dispatchers and communicators are heroes of public safety, and putting modern 9-1-1 technology at their fingertips will help keep our communities safe.
Ontario Investing in Programs To Address Gender-based Violence
The Ontario government is investing an additional $18.7 million this year to help prevent and address violence against women and girls. This funding builds on the province’s existing investments of $1.4 billion over the next four years to end gender-based violence and support victims.
The $18.7 million investment includes an additional $18.14 million to approximately 400 gender-based violence service providers across the province to help them hire more staff, improve services and increase their ability to provide services to women and children.
An additional $546,000 will be invested in the Women’s Economic Security Program and the Investing in Women’s Futures program to create more opportunities for women to build skills, gain employment and become financially independent.
This funding is part of Ontario’s $162 million agreement with the federal government through the National Action Plan to end Gender- Based Violence.
Over the next four years, the province will implement a cross-government strategy to increase funding to service providers to increase their ability to provide supports, expanding initiatives that help stop gender-based violence before it occurs, making it more seamless for women and children to transition between supports, and expand programs that provide training and employment opportunities for women so they can gain financial independence.
- Ontario’s investments over the next four years to help end gender-based violence is guided by Ontario-STANDS: Standing Together Against gender-based violence Now through Decisive actions, prevention, empowerment and Supports.
- In 2019, Ontario recorded more than 30,000 incidents of intimate partner violence. (source: Number of male and female intimate partner violence victims in Canada in 2019, by province).
- 62 women and children were killed through gender-based violence between November 26, 2022, and November 25, 2023. (source: 2023 Annual Femicide List Press Release OAITH).
- Ontario’s plan is aligned with other Canadian and international jurisdictions that focus on building safer and healthier communities through violence prevention while supporting women’s well-being and economic opportunities.
My office is open Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4 pm. If you require assistance on any matter, please contact me at any time. My staff and I will be happy to assist. Even if it’s not a provincial issue, I’ll make sure to connect you with the proper office.