By Jeff Morris, Manotick Messenger
Carleton Conservative MPP Goldie Ghamari says that her office is starting to feel like home.
“We have redone everything in here,” she said of the corner unit in the old Richmond Plaza on Perth Street in Richmond. “The previous tenant was a church. We’re set up and it’s starting to feel like home.”
Ghamari, who was a trade lawyer before winning the Conservative nomination for the newly created riding, has jumped into her new political career and has hit the ground running both locally and at Queen’s Park.
“I started getting calls and emails from constituents in the riding the night of the election,” she said. “I had just been elected – I had no staff, no office, no phone number or website – but once the election was over, we started working right away.”
During her campaign, Ghamari hosted a number of public forums in the community. The topics ranged from farming to hydro to health care to small and local business issues. Her campaign manager, former Rideau Goulbourn Councillor Glenn Brooks, moderate the meetings for her.
The forums helped give Ghamari a profile in the community, but more importantly, it plugged her into the issues and challenges that her constituents faced on a daily basis. At her small business meeting in January, Manotick resident and Richmond Tim Hortons owner Sue Dennison outlined the challenges that the minimum wage increase and other laws and regulations for employment had handcuffed her business. The Tories repealed Bill 148 once they were in power, and it remains the highlight of Ghamari’s first six months in office.
“That was a breakthrough moment for me,” Ghamari said. “When we were able to get Bill 148 repealed and we passed that legislation, it was a great feeling. We also repealed the Green Energy Act. It was great to get to work right away.”
Ghamari said that the first six months of her term in office has been, for the most part, what she expected.
“The one thing that I wasn’t expecting is that we didn’t get to spend a lot of time in the community early on,” she said. “The legislature was called in early – the Premier wanted us in Toronto in July.”
In December, Ghamari is making up for that time in the community, attending events, meeting people, and attending to issues personally.
“Since we opened our office, we have about 400 cases,” she said. “I run our office similar to my law office. When someone has an issue, a problem or a complain, we open a case and the issue is dealt with.”