Rakocevic reflects on busy year, looks ahead to busy New Year

By Sean Delaney

Humber River – Black Creek MPP Tom Rakocevic called 2023 an exciting year. “A lot has been done,” he said. “We’ve worked very hard.” Rakocevic noted that one of the greatest aspects of his job is the ability to help people daily. Blessed with an amazing staff, he accomplishes just that.

“We receive thousands of calls or contacts throughout the year,” he said. “People face many different challenges, and I’m fortunate that my staff and I can help them. Being able to impact a person’s life on an individual basis is one of the best parts of this job.”

The MPP has remained active locally, enjoying community events, whether in the summer or winter months. “I’m inviting everyone to my annual skating party in January. Throughout the year, I’ve enjoyed attending graduations; I try my best to attend each one and was able to attend 30 of them. I feel it’s important to show students the difference they make and honor their hard work.”

He’s proud of the significant investment in the community, including the LRT. However, he is aware of the challenges, such as traffic congestion. “We’re all stuck in that traffic,” he said. “I’ve consistently reached out to the City and Metrolinx to make it run smoother, including changing light timing and other factors.”

One of his proudest achievements is the new 320-bed Humber Meadows long-term care center. “It’s a state-of-the-art facility, and we need more like it in our community,” he said. “The official opposition has been calling for more hours of long-term care. We’ve long seen that public facilities are the best.”

Looking to 2024, Rakocevic acknowledges there is much work ahead, continuing the fight on some long-term goals. “Inflation is through the roof. I’ve been heavily involved in auto insurance reform. I recently questioned at Queen’s Park why Ontarians are charged the highest premiums in the country. My bill to end postal code discrimination in auto insurance is still pending. We need to continue putting pressure on insurance companies and the government.”

On telecom, Rakocevic has conducted hearings across the province. “Contact a relative outside this country and ask them what they pay for cellphone and internet services. Sometimes, they pay ten times less than we do.”

In the area of condominiums, the MPP aims to reform condo laws to prevent disputes from ending up in court. “A tribunal system for resolving issues is a much faster way. There have been high-profile cases where people have lost thousands in the courts.”

He is also proud of introducing a consumer watchdog act to the legislature. “It would be a game changer, bringing Ontario to a gold standard of consumer protection. Currently, when people call the ministry hotline, they’re only advised to get a lawyer. We need an ally with teeth to go after corporations.”

Regarding the Marian Shrine of Gratitude, he expressed sadness over its abrupt sale. “It’s an important place for many seeking peace. I’ve signed the petition and reached out to the minister regarding the site.”

Finally, he critiqued the Ontario government’s intrusions into the Greenbelt. “The constant back and forth on messaging and the continued development in precious farmland has been disappointing to watch unfold.”

Returning to a positive note, he wished all of Emery’s residents a happy holiday season. “Life’s greatest honor continues to be this role, this job, and being a representative for the community.”