As a young newcomer to Canada in 1969, I never imagined that I would one day have the privilege to serve as a Member of Provincial Parliament. But this is a country where opportunity awaits at every corner and where dreams can come true, including mine. As an MPP, I wanted to do my part to ensure it stays that way.
Over the past eleven years it has been an honour to help build a more fair, progressive Ontario; where everyone has the opportunity to thrive and prosper. We have shown the world that a compassionate, peaceful and inclusive society offers the best quality of life for all.
It is, however, time for a personal change, and I am announcing today that I will not be seeking re-election in June. While this was not an easy decision, it was a necessary one that will allow me to focus on some health concerns that have recently developed.
There is a phrase that all good things must come to an end, that there is no dinner gala that never ends. My political career has been an unparalleled experience - a chance to contribute to shaping the future, to meet so many wonderful Ontarians, to promote the vibrancy and beauty of our province to the world, and to appreciate first-hand the democratic institution that is a treasured foundation of our society. It has been a journey shared by so many to whom I owe my heartfelt gratitude.
First, I want to thank my beautiful wife and my sons for their patience and support. Public service is a family commitment; my family and friends have been an indispensable part of my political life. Further, I would not be where I am today without the support of my beloved parents, both gone now, who taught me by word and deed that public service is a high calling, that integrity and respect for the people you serve is of the utmost importance and must guide every action.
Second, to the people of Markham-Unionville, and to everyone who supported or volunteered their time to my campaigns over the years, your faith in returning me to office four consecutive times renewed my confidence to represent you to the utmost of my ability, to ensure your concerns were heard, and to fight for what mattered most to you.
Third, to the two Premiers under whom I have served, Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne, thank you for believing in me. Your leadership and vision, your courage, drive and passion to do what is right for the people of Ontario have always inspired me. Every individual who puts themself forward for elected office wants to make a positive difference despite the personal sacrifices. I have nothing but admiration for my caucus colleagues, past and present, and I extend this to my legislative colleagues from all political parties whose views I have valued.
I also want to thank my Queen’s Park and Constituency staff, many of whom have been with me for years. They are an impressive group of people whose dedication to serve the public is matched only by their steadfast belief in Liberal values.
Finally, to the hard-working members of the Ontario Public Service who have served alongside me in numerous ministerial portfolios, who carry out their mission to uphold the public’s trust each and every day, thank you and keep up the good work!
All of you have deeply touched my life and reinforced the empowerment of working as a team. You understand how much more we can achieve together as Ontarians, how much stronger we are if we stay connected and cohesive in facing every challenge, and how better we can seize every opportunity if we invest in the incredible people who call Ontario home.
My work will continue as Campaign Co-Chair and as Minister of International Trade. I have never been more determined to advance the values of fairness, equity, and opportunity. We have achieved so much but, in a fast-changing world, there is always so much more to do and there is no one more capable than Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario Liberal Party to do it!
My message to Ontarians is to stay engaged, to get involved, and most of all, to exercise and never take for granted your privilege to vote that ensures your voice is heard.
This website is provided for your convenience. If you'd prefer to call or email, my staff and I would be happy to hear from you.
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