Liberals triumph in Westdale
Assistant News Editor
The red sea has combed over the province again, though this time, it’s only a minor flooding. Dalton McGunity and the Liberals scored a minority parliamentary caucus on Oct. 7, just shy one seat to a majority.
While that may come as a disappointment to some, the Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale (ADFW) riding stands as a Liberal stronghold yet again this year. With 17,521 votes, compared to the next best 13,846 for Donna Skelly, the Progressive Conservative candidate, Ted McMeekin cruised into victory as the Liberal MPP.
Neither new to the political scene nor lacking experience, McMeekin’s prominence as a politician is well recognized and merited. As a member of Ontario legislature since 2000, a cabinet Minister of Government and Customer Services in 2007, and an ADFW Liberal MPP since 2007, McMeekin has gleaned a variety of political titles.
“My political success is not because I have the best constituency team in Ontario. It’s because I have the best constituency team in the country,” he stated in an interview with the Silhouette.
He added, “I believe all politics are local. It’s relational. It’s collaborative. If you’re a local, collaborative, relational sort of person with a record of accomplishment, people tend to embrace that.”
According to the polls, the voters did just that.
As to what the voters may have embraced, some ambiguity surfaces. McMeekin did not elaborate the current platform at length, however, he reminded that, “It is whatever Dalton wants.”
This, according to McMeekin, is “most certainly the very best for ADFW.” McMeekin highlighted that the Liberal Party’s interests coincide with those of the ADFW. His previous track record, some may argue, stands as a testimony of that.
From 2007-2011, McMeekin, along with the Liberal Party, was involved in overseeing $12.5 million in funding for textbooks and school supplies, protection of the Pleasantview Lands, $30 million in funding to clean up Randle Reef, creation of the new Westdale Urgent Care Centre, a $4.4-million investment to expand Ronald McDonald House and, most pertinent to students, managing the grant and operational details of the Wilson Building for Humanities and Social Sciences.
“After the last election, I made a list of twenty specific things I wanted to get done, and I’m pleased to say that 19 of those things today are a reality.”
“These next four years will be no different,” McMeekin stressed. “This year, there is going to be a new list. I have 11 things that I have identified that I want to work on so far.”
With a new list of projects comes new obstacles. While not explaining the particular details regarding the 11 issues currently on the table, McMeekin briefly mentioned a few he would like to address as MPP.
“There’s a St. Mary’s quarry that is looking to be opened in Waterdown, but it will have detrimental effects for the residents there, so I intend to make sure that quarry never opens. I intend to make sure that peninsula highway is never built. I intend to work on the 20th item I was both working and partially successful on the last four years, which is to have the area from the Royal Botanical Gardens to the Escarpment declared Ontario’s first urban provincial biosphere park.”
Such initiatives directly contend the oppositional political drive in provincial parliament. Without a majority, the question surfaces of whether or not McMeekin’s, and by extension the Liberal’s, clear impetus of unfounded respect for the land and rural living that characterizes much of the ADFW riding will be maintained.
McMeekin hopes that it certainly will. He plans to help “obtain more resources both provincially and federally to be better stewards of the land.”
However, there is no such guarantee.
McMeekin acknowledged this and warned, “This political situation will take a certain form of maturity from other parties to do what is best for ADFW, for Ontario and, ultimately, for Canada.”
As for what this “form of maturity” is, McMeekin simply said humorously, “not politics.”
McMeekin’s official post-election role at Queen’s Park will begin later this month.