February 5, 2010
Ontario Road Builders’ Association convention
Ontario’s new transportation minister ready to listen, learn
Ontario’s freshly-minted Minister of Transportation, Kathleen Wynne, struck a humble note in her inaugural speech before delegates to the Ontario Road Builders’ Association annual convention in Toronto this week.
“I really like to take questions, but I don’t have any answers for you today,” Wynne told the audience.
“I know you’re wondering, ‘How on Earth can she begin to grasp the challenges that we confront every day.’ I believe the central skill that I will demonstrate in this portfolio is to listen to people who are the experts — and you are the experts with real-life experience to whom I have to pay the most attention.
“ I will never jump to conclusions based on just a little knowledge.”
Wynne vowed to keep the virtual pedal to the metal regarding the province’s roadbuilding infrastructure program.
“One of the things we have to be very careful about as a province is that we have to keep going and not create a huge gap in building activity, and therefore a backlog in terms of our infrastructure,” she said.
“Governments are sometimes reluctant to invest in infrastructure because it takes a long time for projects to come to fruition. On some of the projects we’re starting today I won’t probably be the minister when the ribbon is cut.
“That can’t deter us as a government from making those investments. We have to have a longer view and to stay on track in terms of the infrastructure program. We can’t take our foot off the infrastructure pedal too quickly.”
Wynne promised to continue emphasis on innovation, cutting-edge building techniques, and green building practices during the coming year.
“I know that you know more about this than I do,” she told delegates.
“I will never have all of the details that you do. Together we are working on the cutting edge and will continue together to transform the industry.”
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