Former Premier Bill Davis once said: “the real promise of Ontario is still very much ahead of us,” and I agree.
His recent passing is but one reminder that 2021 was a year of hardship and sorrow for many.
So, this holiday season, I am thinking, first, of those who need a helping hand. My gratitude goes to all those Ontarians who’ve extended theirs: devoted volunteers, educators, and healthcare workers still battling on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic to keep us safe.
This New Year’s Day, I will be celebrating inspiring examples of service by making special presentations of the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers. Begun as the Caring Canadian Award in 1995, I can think of no better way to honour those we’ve lost and inspire all of us in the year to come.
My heart also turns to those struggling with loss: those in marginalized communities and all affected by the terrorist attack in London, Ontario this past June.
And to all experiencing trauma and pain from the discovery of unmarked graves at former Residential Schools across Canada, this is indeed a moment of national reckoning that illustrates just how much work remains to realize the imperative of reconciliation.
But significantly, Premier Davis’s message is one of faith in our collective future.
And he is not alone in expressing such sentiment.
During the recent COP26 Climate Change Conference, Her Majesty the Queen defined true statesmanship as acting “for the people of tomorrow … for our children and our children’s children”.
As we set our gaze on the coming year, we look forward to the historic occasion of Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee.
In recognition of her lifetime of service, may we draw from her example both inspiration and purpose, to fulfill our promise to the Ontario of tomorrow, to protect the fragile planet on which we depend and to serve our children’s children.
I wish you a joyous holiday. May the year ahead bring you good health and happiness.