Invited to the Ontario Legislature
Some of you will know that very early in my career I spent two years or so as the Legislative Assistant to the Honourable Robert Nixon, the Ontario Treasurer (now called the Finance Minister). I was in my mid-twenties then and had the time of my life on his political staff during the reign of the David Peterson Liberal Government. Leaping ahead to this past October, the current Speaker of the Legislature, the Honourable Ted Arnott, approached me at the Eden Mills Writers Festival. He and his wife have apparently enjoyed my humble novels and he kindly invited me to come back to the Ontario Legislature for a visit nearly thirty years after I first worked there. What an honour.
I arrived on a Wednesday morning in November and spent twenty minutes or so in the Speakers official boardroom, chatting with him. What a lovely guy with a clear-eyed view of politics and serving the public interest. I was then given a guided tour of the Legislature before heading to the chamber itself. I sat in the House in the Speakers Gallery and was introduced to the Assembly by the Speaker. I watched Question Period (QP) just as I used to do in 1985, but this time, just as an interested observer. Following QP there was a wonderful reception held in the Legislature where MPPs, political staffers, and civil servants alike arrived with books of mind in hand to be inscribed and signed. What a thrill. Finally, Mr. Speaker and I had lunch in the Legislative dining room. I’m grateful for the invitation and was reminded of how important the work of our elected and unelected public servants are. Deep thanks to the Honourable Ted Arnott and his staff (thanks Debi!) for organizing it all.