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Doug Ford’s New Year’s message: ‘Our future is bright and Ontario’s best days are ahead’


Doug Ford’s New Year’s message: ‘Our future is bright and Ontario’s best days are ahead’

Premier Doug Ford is predicting 2023 will be a good year for Ontario.

In his annual New Year’s message, Ford struck a more optimistic tone than last year, when the challenges of the COVID pandemic’s new Omicron variant were front and centre.

“As we enter the year 2023, our future is bright and Ontario’s best days are still ahead,” he said in his statement. “While we celebrate everything we have to be thankful for, we will never take anything for granted. As the world continues to face economic uncertainty, our government is hard at work building an economy that works for everyone and can weather any storm. For 2023 and beyond, Ontario will continue to be the greatest place to live, work and raise a family.”

The premier also touted a number of government initiatives, including a controversial plan to open up parts of the Greenbelt to allow for housing as well as granting “strong mayor” powers to leaders in Toronto and Ottawa.

“As we turn over the calendar to begin a new year, it’s important to take a moment and reflect on just how far we’ve all come over the past 12 months,” Ford said, adding “I’m particularly proud of the progress our government has made implementing our plan to build Ontario.”

He said his government “passed new legislation that will help achieve our goal of building 1.5 million homes over 10 years. This next step in our plan will ensure cities, towns and rural communities grow with the mix of housing types they need, so that more families can realize the dream of home ownership.”

Ford also noted the government has purchased three new train sets as part of its campaign promise to return the Northlander service from Toronto to Timmins and also Cochrane, which should be up and running in 2026.


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He also said that at a time of high inflation and rising costs, “our government is taking concrete action to put more money back into the pockets of Ontarians, including by scrapping licence plate sticker fees and permanently removing tolls from Highways 412 and 418” and extending a tax rate cut on gas and fuel.

Last Jan. 1, Ford said 2021 had been “an incredibly trying year for Ontarians … the Ontario spirit remains on full display in communities across this great province.”

As the province began 2022, “in the midst of our ongoing battle against the new Omicron variant … it’s not lost on me how much each of you have had to sacrifice (in 2021).”

Incoming NDP Leader Marit Stiles said Sunday that “2022 was a tough year for many. But Ontarians stepped up to help each other — again and again, including just this past week when first responders and neighbours stepped up to help people stranded or without power during the holidays.”

She said as she “(prepares) to lead Ontario’s official opposition NDP this year,” she will “offer positive ideas that will make life better for you and your family … push back on decisions that take us backwards … (and) bring forward your voice to the halls of power.”

Interim Liberal Leader John Fraser said with the New Year, “I hope that with this new chapter, we are able to reflect on the lessons learned from last year and move forward in a positive direction.”

Kristin Rushowy is a Toronto-based reporter covering Ontario politics for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @krushowy

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