Premier McGuinty shares our concerns for our youth and our community. He has a personal commitment to education, family and community service, values that were passed on to him by his parents. As a parent he has taken a keen understanding of the grief and sorrow of our community that our community experiences each time we lose one of our youth. We are pleased that he has taken the time to be here with us today. Please join me in giving the premier of Ontario, Mr. Dalton McGuinty, Premier, a warm welcome. A Seventh Day Adventist welcome, let us rise as he comes to us, Premier McGuinty.

Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you so very, very much for your warm, kind and generous welcome.
It is a distinct honour and a privilege for me to be able to join you with my wife Terri today and to interrupt, intrude and otherwise interfere with the regular proceedings that take place in this wonderful institution. And it's great to see so many families here, children and parents. I have a particularly soft spot for mothers. You know my own dad passed away about 16 years ago so I make a real effort to stay in touch with my own mom. I was talking to her recently over the phone and I was telling her that I had a particularly hard day and I was telling her about some of the trials and tribulations associated with my job, looking a for a little bit of sympathy she said "I don't know about your work as Premier but as a son there is still lots of room for improvement". I think mothers are the same everywhere and it's funny though as Premier you never know how you are going to be called upon to serve your public.
Here is one of my favorite stories which has the benefit of being true. Terri and I were out shopping for groceries, we have four children between now the ages of 20 and 24. The gray hair that is coming in is not from the job, it's from the kids so my wife had abandoned me in the grocery store and I was pushing the cart down a particularly aisle and there was an elderly woman there who was hunched over her cart and she obviously recognized me, furthermore it was apparent to me that she was lying in wait. So as I approached her in some trepidation down the aisle some point she said to me "Mr. McGuinty there is something I need you to do for me". So I'm thinking to myself it's got to be taxes or healthcare or price of electricity, something like that. So finally I worked up the nerve and I said "Ma'am how can I help you?" You know what she said to me? "Get me the cookies on the top shelf". Never had I felt so useful as Premier as I did on that particular occasion.
My friends let me say on behalf of our government what a honour it is for me and my colleagues to join you here today and to pass along regrets as well on behalf of my Minister of Children and Youths Services, Marianne Chambers who is confined to bed today she is suffering from pneumonia but she really would have loved to be have been here today to join you. I want to thank Pastors Chichesters and King here at this church for allowing me this opportunity. And I want to say how thankful we are for the great work being by the Toronto Community Foundation and the Partnership with the Coalition of Christians leaders and if I may I'd like to single out Pastor Michael Morris, Reverend Alvin Nicholson and Reverend Don Meredith for their leadership and for bringing us all together today in this place to celebrate.
We celebrate our Province, the city and especially this community of faith which has come together at a especially challenging time to not only address the problems of guns and gangs but to go further to the root of the problem to prevent violence and I am tremendously thankful and honoured to join with you.
I think the most powerful lessons that we learn in life are not learned in schools or through books - they are learned at home. I grew up in a big family and we were ten kids at home, we would walk to church on Sundays not because we were into fitness but because we couldn't fit into the car. When I was 16 I had a two year old sister and a three year old brother and lots in between and my mother would regularly tell me you got to slow down, you can see that the little ones can't keep up with you and as a typical 16 year old I said "why should I? I'm bigger, I'm stronger and I'm faster. Why should I have to wait up for them?" and my mom said "because we are a family and in a family we stick together". In a family we support one another, we look out for one another, we care for one another, in a family if one of us meets with success that's a cause for celebration by the rest of us but in the family if one of us is in trouble then we are all in trouble and we all have a responsibility to help out. My family today is no longer a family of twelve it's twelve and a half million. Some of the family are having some trouble so we are going to come together to help the members of our family. I think the bible offers some very good advice on this score. One of the most often quoted parts of the bible is First Corinthians 13 where we read these words "So faith, hope, love abide these three but the greatest of these is love." It seems to me that these are the three things that brought us together today - faith, hope and love.
Let's begin with faith. We are here you and I not only because this is a community of faith but because we have faith in our community. Faith that there is no problem so big that it cannot be solved if come together, work together and dream together.
A few weeks ago I got a letter from Rev. Nicholson asking our government support on an exciting new program called Down with Guns and that strategy has four goals - to strengthen families, focus on education, create employment options and opportunity and encourage our youth to know their civic rights and responsibilities.
Four action volunteer action committees will make sure these goals are met and parents, educators, artist, law enforcement officials and many expert volunteers will be putting their shoulders to the wheel and doing their part to make a difference. And I and my government have faith that they will make a difference so we are providing 3 million dollars to support this new program.
You have stepped up and said we can't leave the work to someone else, we have a role to play too so we are stepping up as well. We have faith in your sincere desire and ability to do what is right to strengthen your families and we have faith in our ability, you and I to work together for the good of our community. We will not allow any person, any group, any event or any series of events to rob us of our determination, our shared responsibility to build a good life for our children.
In this ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls we are all leaders and leaders you should understand never despair. Leaders aren't allowed to despair because too many, too many others are counting on us. Leaders bring hope and that is what I want to talk about next.
Hope, hope for our children, hope for our families, hope for our community, hope that our lives can be better. I'm not talking about weak hope the kind that minimizes the challenges before us. I'm talking about a firm hope, the kind that comes from the strength that we draw from each other when we work together, working together in January we announced a 51 million dollars enforcement strategy to get guns and gangs off our streets, working together in February we launched our youth challenge fund, a fund that I say with confidence will grow to 45 million dollars that is chaired by coach Pinball Mike Clemens. That is a fund to invest in our youths and prevent crime also in February Minister Chambers announced a new investment of 28 and a half million dollars in a youth opportunity strategy to help young people reach their full potential through the support of new youth health reach workers, better summer jobs and more help at school and today we've taken another important step with our new with your new Down with Guns Program. Working together we're bringing hope to our community, now there is one particular definition of hope that I am especially fond of. There's a fellow by the name of Woodsworth one of the romantic poets who wrote over will almost 200 years ago he defined hope as the paramount duty that heaven lays for its own honour on man's suffering heart. I love that definition of hope because he speaks of hope as a duty, as an obligation, as our shared responsibility together we will bring hope to our community.
Now, I've talked about our faith in each other to get the job done and our duty to bring hope now comes the most important one love.
Someone once said that in every family there are wounds to heal, in every community there is work to be done and in every heart there is the power to do it and that power of course is love.
Now it might seems strange to hear someone like me talking about love, let's face it when was the last time you heard the words love and government in the same sentence? I accept that but if you and I are not motivated by love, love for our city, love for our neighbor, love for our kids, love for our families then we might as well all pack up and go home right now. Because right now there are kids out there whom need that from us more than anything, they need to know that you and I care, they need to know that we actually believe in them and in what they can be, they need us to be there with them, standing up for them when they need us and yes standing up to them when they need that too. They need to know that our love is tough, tough in the sense that it is durable, that it is strong, they need to know that we're not going to give up on them, that we're not going to give our streets and communities over to fear and hatred and our youth need to see in everything we do that in this world that the bravest people are not the ones with guns in their hands but with love in their hearts.
Now of course there will be the skeptics, the cynics, who will allow the corrosive effects of life to rob them of their own idealism. They rob them of their sense of the possible but you and I will not fall prey to that. We have faith in our ability to get the job done, we understand our duty is to bring hope to those who are counting on us and we have confidence that love is the powerful weapon of all.
I know and you know that working together in faith, in hope and in love there is nothing that we cannot accomplish.
Thank you very much.




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