Remarks By Dalton McGuinty, Premier Of Ontario On The Occasion Of The Swearing-In of The Premier and Cabinet
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Your Honour, my Lord Chief Justice, distinguished guests, colleagues, friends and those people sitting in the first 30 rows here -- family. My first words as Premier are to the people of Ontario. Thank you for the work you have entrusted to us.
Thank you for having given us these important responsibilities. I thank you for all the work you do every day.
We are honoured to work for you because we've seen you work. We've seen you make the kids' lunches, fill out the school forms, sell the chocolate almonds, put in more than a full day at the office or down at the plant, and still manage to get the kids to Brownies or hockey practice -- sometimes even on time. Our government will be as tireless as you are.
We've seen you neglect your own needs to care for your aging parents, or make sacrifices to care for your young grandchildren. Our government will be as selfless as you are.
We have seen you innovate and take risks to create jobs. Or do your jobs so well that you help your employers create still more jobs. Our government will work as hard as you do.
We've seen you teach a child to read, nurse a patient back to health, fight a fire, police a community, provide public service, serve in our armed forces or strengthen our province in thousands of ways. Our government will work with you.
You do so much, so well. Government's job is to help you overcome those challenges that are simply too big for you to tackle on your own. And we gladly assume that responsibility. We won't blame you for our mistakes. We will starve cynicism, and feed hope.
A poet once described hope as "that everlasting duty that heaven lays for its own sake on mankind's heart." We embrace this notion of hope being our duty, our obligation, our shared responsibility. Our mission is to build a government that inspires hope in all Ontarians.
People have told us they want things done differently. They want real, positive change. They want us to improve their schools and health care, protect our environment and live within our means.
Today marks a first step in delivering change. There will be a new Ministry of Children's services to deliver on our commitment to ensure that children get off to the best start in life.
A new Ministry of Public Infrastructure signals our determination to provide the tools Ontarians need to compete and win by building roads and sewers and hospitals and schools.
For the first time, Ontario will have a Democratic Renewal Secretariat. Because we believe in public service and we believe in government, we will strive to make government more relevant to the people that we serve.
With that goal in mind, we're moving to make the people's representatives -- our MPPs -- even more relevant to government. For the first time in Ontario history, every MPP in the government caucus will sit on Cabinet Committees. And those committees will be chaired by non-ministers. In keeping with our parliamentary traditions, decisions will remain with Cabinet. But with this innovation, MPPs will have real, meaningful input into those decisions. When it comes to policy making in our government, there will be no back bench.
Our government will work for all Ontarians and with all Ontarians. That's why I'm so happy to welcome each of you today, and to have you here with us. Together, we will represent businesses and workers, youth and older Ontarians, public and private sector, as well as volunteers. You are all welcomed here, and you will be always.
I want you to know that yours is an idealistic government -- one that wants to make Ontario the envy of the world.
We're not naive about the challenges ahead. We're under no illusions, but we do have a vision. It is a vision of working and building and dreaming together. And it is a vision that Ontarians share.
Before closing, I just want to say how proud I am to have my mother with us here today.
I also want to acknowledge the love and support of my family, Terri, my wife, and my children Carleen, Dalton Jr., Liam and Connor. I want to thank them for their particularly leveling influence. When I told Connor we were coming to Queen's Park for my swearing in, his only inquiry was, "is there going to be any food there?"
I want to conclude this, my first speech as Premier, in the same way that I concluded my maiden speech as an MPP in this chamber some 13 years ago. I want to conclude with words of advice written by my late father, Dalton McGuinty Sr. in a letter he sent as the member for Ottawa South to all members of this legislature, at that time. His words are in paraphrase of a prayer from St. Francis of Assisi:
"Let us remember that when we leave this earth, we take with us nothing that we have received, fleeting symbols of honour, trappings of power, but only what we have been given, a full heart, enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage."
My friends, let our new government govern with a full heart. Let it provide honest service. And let it show as much love, sacrifice and courage as the people we have the privilege of serving.