Tonight is an opportunity to give thanks, and I have much to be thankful for.
To My Family – I want to start by thanking the most important people in my life, my family. When you are in public service, your family is in public service with you. This at times is not easy as they read the headlines, hear and watch the media broadcasts along with you. It takes a strong support system when you are in politics and my family has been my with me the entire way. Thank you. I couldn’t have done this without you.
To Citizens of London – Citizen engagement is an important foundational principal of democracy. A principal I strongly believe in because it has made me a better member of council. The more I engaged, the more informed I was, the better my decision making. My thanks to the citizens of London who guided me through face to face discussions, phone calls, emails, twitter, Facebook, blogs etc. Your perspective is important, not just every 4 years, but every day. Thank you for the valuable service you provide.
To Media, Bloggers, commentators…: Good governance is about being accountable, transparent and open in your decision making. You ensure the public is informed. You shine a light on important issues and as a result – a better informed local public and improved open government. Thanks for the valuable service you provide.
- The Councillor’s office staff is extraordinary. They Work diligently to provide councillors with support in order to make our job easier.
- The Clerks Department and my Office staff – Cathy, Linda, Barb, Leah, Cheryl, Lina have been incredible in ensuring my office runs smoothly and efficiently.
- To the Boards and Commissions – I want to recognize the leadership within and their appointed members for their important contributions to this city.
- To our City staff. There is tremendous talent and depth in our work force. At times we get things wrong, but 95+ % of the time we get it right. We are a multi-faceted service provider with layers of provincial and federal legislation and regulations that must be followed. Local government is complex and you operate in an ever changing, highly political environment and at times I am sure it seems a thankless enterprise. My thanks to you for always maintaining a professional approach, for assisting council, and offering your best advice. Thank you for the valuable service you provide under challenging circumstance.
To my Colleagues – I have not regretted serving with any one of you. Over my time on council I have served with many interesting and engaging personalities. At times it was difficult and gruelling; other times, pleasant and fulfilling. What I know is at the deepest point of my frustration or anger, I always learned something about myself. For that I am grateful.
We all bring our personal perspectives to the table and at times it is hard to agree to disagree. We know that public service is hard work. There are numerous perspectives on a variety of vastly diverging issues and it is not easy, but it is extraordinarily rewarding. Thank you for your service in striving to make London a better place.
To the newly elected council: Councillor Brown I know you will do a tremendous job as our new Mayor. I have observed you over four years, your dedication, intelligence, perseverance and your ability to collaborate are going to serve council well.
I know the councillors elected will serve their representative wards well. When I am about the city at events, many Londoners express their excitement about the newly elected council. There is hope and promise in this community.
Be visionary. Following World War II, London, England was debating the next steps for a city heavily bombed. Many simply wanted to rebuild quickly to kick start the economy. Winston Churchill urged his government to take a different approach. He gave one of his motivational speeches and poignantly said, and I paraphrase, “First you shape your city, thereafter it shapes you.” He was urging his colleagues to commit to rebuilding London with world class structures, and a beautiful public realm that would reflect the character and aspirations of the city. It was a vision for the creation of a city that was a beacon for commerce, beautiful for all to admire, and functional for moving people and goods. The result of Churchill’s legacy is the extraordinary world class city that London, England is today.
Decisions you make today will have far reaching implications. You have to think about how you are shaping our city; for your generation, your children and grandchildren’s generation. We want a vibrant, dynamic, beautiful city. We don’t want a city that demonstrates the geography of know where. We want a city that is the calling card to the world. So please remember, “First you shape your city, thereafter it shapes you.”
When you make decisions, make sure you are informed – read the report. If you don’t understand ask. The number of services the city is engaged in is astounding. You can’t possibly know all the answers. Ask for assistance; you have dedicated staff ready and willing to help.
I have no hesitation in predicting the new council will bring pride to our community, working in a professional manner to move London forward.
Thank you for running for office and stepping forward to offer your service.
In closing, I’ll quote Tony Blair: It has been an honour to serve. I give my thanks to you, London citizens, for the times I have succeeded, and my apologies to you for the times I have fallen short.