Choose to exercise your power

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been fortunate enough to have my weekly column printed by many of our local newspapers and online media outlets—and for that I’m truly grateful.
It has given me a chance to reach out to you and keep everyone up to date on the current issues in our province, in addition to some of the initiatives I have taken on in my role as your MPP.
That said, it is my job to represent you at Queen’s Park and making sure you have a voice when the government makes a decision. That’s why I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that your input matters and does make a difference.
When I talk to people, they often are reluctant to share their views with the government. What they often don’t realize, however, is that giving feedback is one of the most effective—and under-used—means of affecting positive change.
The truth is, politicians and policy-makers rely on this feedback because what seems to work in principle may not necessarily work in practice—and far too often bad policy goes unchanged because an issue has not been raised.
In recent months, I’ve had a number of discussions with government officials that have been unaware that a program has been failing to deliver its intended result.
Without letters and e-mails outlining these shortcomings, they are left with the incorrect impression that things are running smoothly.
Even if it’s simply saying “I agree with this,” your input matters and does make a difference.
While it’s true that government often has the best intentions, there are some instances where a government has become out of touch with the public and it stops listening. In cases like this, your letters, e-mails, and petitions tell us which issues are important to you and they help us to turn up the heat to affect change.
Never is this more true or effective than in a minority government situation.
I would like to leave you with a couple of final thoughts. The first is that complacency and disengagement are the two greatest things that undermine good government and give rise to tyranny.
The second is that although you may not realize it, you hold a lot of power.
It’s up to you whether or not you choose to exercise that power.

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