The Woolwich Observer

MPP Mike Harris named as parliament­ary secretary to Doug Ford

- Bill Atwood


WILL HAVE MORE voice at the Queen’s Park, says Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris in the wake of his appointmen­t as parliament­ary assistant to Premier Doug Ford.

The move March 28 saw Harris transfer from his previous role as parliament­ary assistant to the Minister of Legislativ­e Affairs Paul Calandra, a position in which he worked on the rehabilita­tion of the legislatur­e building, a project that is expected to cost $1 billion.

In his new role, Harris joins Whitby MPP Lorne Coe, who has served in the position since 2022, and Brantford-Brant MPP Will Bouma, who previously assisted Ford in 2021.

“Each of us have very different files, and it’s going to be, I guess you could say, a fun new adventure. I’m also getting to really sink my teeth into some special projects, some policy and, of course, be able to step in for the premier at events and different things like that when he’s unable to attend,” said Harris in an interview.

Just what the new role will entail on a day-to-day basis remains something of an unknown, given that the announceme­nt just recently.

“I look forward to what the next couple of weeks will have in store, getting up to speed on some of the certain files and see what the premier requests of me,” said Harris, who’s the son of Mike Harris

Sr., the province’s 22nd premier.

Harris, who has been a parliament­ary assistant since 2019, said the work will allow him to continue to meet his constituen­cy obligation­s.

“We’ve got so many great things to celebrate about the region and, of course, our rural townships. It adds one more voice to the conversati­on, when we’re talking about agricultur­e or rural infrastruc­ture or how we balance growth and different things like that,” he said of his new role.

On the infrastruc­ture front, the province is still aiming to meet the target of 1.5 million homes by 2031, however its 2024 budget projects a number below what is needed. It projects 88,000 housing

starts for this year, 92,000 in 2025 and 94,000 in 2026.

“There’s a lot of challenges, obviously, coming post-COVID with higher interest rates and higher cost of materials,” said Harris, who hinted at a local announceme­nt regarding housing coming soon.

In taking on this new position, Harris said he would relish a role as a cabinet minister if called upon.

“I would love to be able to bring Waterloo Region’s voice to the cabinet table. It’s something that I aspire towards. If the premier asked whether I’d serve in cabinet, the answer is always going to be yes,” he said.

 ?? Bill Atwood ?? Emergency services responded to a two-vehicle collision on Steffler Road near Listowel Road on Tuesday morning.
Bill Atwood Emergency services responded to a two-vehicle collision on Steffler Road near Listowel Road on Tuesday morning.

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