My first commitment is to continue to work on several Private Members' Bills (PMBs) that are important to our communities in Huron-Bruce.
Nov. 30, I introduced a motion in the Legislature, calling on the minister of health and long-term care to enhance and update data collection and surveillance strategies of black-legged ticks, to allow health care professionals better resources to diagnose Lyme disease. Without updated mapping that accurately reflects the presence of these insects - and they are making their way to western Ontario, as I have heard from countless individuals - more people can be at risk of contracting the illness. It's time we put ticks on the map, and I will continue to advocate for the increased use of technology in the battle against Lyme disease.
I have also begun work to introduce a PMB celebrating our Great Lakes. The Great Lakes are a resource that accounts for 84 per cent of North America's supply of surface fresh water, and are home to more than 3,500 species of plants and animals. We have a responsibility - especially being located on the shores of Lake Huron - to ensure that the Great Lakes remain a valuable resource that is drinkable, swimmable and fishable, both now and in the future. Raising awareness of their importance is a step in achieving this, and is a commitment I have.
My second resolution is to ensure that residents facing mental health challenges get the attention they not only need, but deserve. A report by the Huron County Health Unit in 2015 found that youth in need of hospitalization for a mental health crisis are being redirected to London for care. This is unacceptable. We thrive when we have the support of family and loved ones around us. We need to utilize co-ordinated supports close to home. I've shared this with my leader, Patrick Brown. It's also why I'm proud that the Progressive Conservative (PC) party, through the People's Guarantee, has made the largest financial commitment to mental health care in our province's history.
My third resolution, as always, is to ensure that our local industries are able to grow and thrive, providing good-paying jobs for Ontarians and Huron-Bruce residents. In my past experience working for a Dairy Goat Co-operative, and now serving as the PC Critic for International Trade, I know the importance of supporting industries, such as farming and manufacturing. Ensuring these sectors have access to new and value-added markets, both nationally and internationally, is important to sustaining stability and growth, especially in a time when the future of agreements, such as NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) is so uncertain.
Parallel to that, is ensuring that small businesses are not being nickeled-and-dimed at every turn by premier Kathleen Wynne's Liberal government to pay for its years of waste and mismanagement. No one denies that under this government the cost-of-living has sky-rocketed, and purchasing power has declined.
Employers, employees and job-seekers have been highly vocal in their concern about the speed with which changes to the labour laws were implemented Jan. 1, without properly educating people on the workplace change or providing timely details. The PC party has pledged to incrementally implement the next phase of the increase over four years, to ease the price shocks that inevitably come with such a hasty change.
And 2018 promises to be a year of transformation, as the June 7 provincial election draws near. After 14 years of broken Liberal promises, and an environment of exorbitant spending and insider access, Ontarians have a chance to affect change and tell the premier and her government to pack their bags. My final resolution of 2018 is to be a strong voice for you and Huron-Bruce at Queen's Park and beyond.