High praise from one public servant to another

To the Editor:

In his statement announcing he will not be seeking another term, MPP Bill Walker noted his sincere appreciation for having had the opportunity to serve as Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound’s representative during the once-in-a-lifetime COVID-19 pandemic.

As the Medical Officer of Health for Grey-Bruce, I feel compelled to publicly express my sincere appreciation for the leadership, support and assistance provided by MPP Walker both during the pandemic and before it began.

It is important to note, the position of medical officer of health is a non-partisan one. This letter is not about politics – it’s to acknowledge the work MPP Walker has done both locally and provincially to assist the Grey Bruce Health Unit in achieving its mission of promoting and protecting public health.

“I can never say enough” that I hold MPP Walker in the highest regard and have the greatest respect for him and his skills and commitment to the health and safety of the people of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound and the province. Over the past two years, I have had the privilege of being a firsthand witness of a local political leader of the highest calibre that made a significant positive impact on the lives and livelihood of people and the viability of local businesses.

MPP Walker has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the best interests of Grey-Bruce residents and businesses as well as resolute support of our mission. This has been invaluable as the health unit has navigated the many challenges posed by the pandemic.

MPP Walker’s unparalleled support has had a positive impact on my ability to fulfill my role as Medical Officer of Health and the health unit’s work to mobilize local communities in collectively responding to the pandemic.

His mentorship, which enabled me to achieve a better understanding of the local and provincial political dynamics, has been crucial in enhancing the quality of our response to the emergency.

In every interaction, whether it was with organizations, groups or individuals, his input always reflected a thorough and deep understanding and analysis of the complexity of the matter at hand and the parties involved, and his opinion always provided a positive path forward or straightforward solution.

Regardless of the level and complexity of the subject matter, MPP Walker always kept central the human aspect. He cares so much about every single person in his riding.

The extraordinary thoughtfulness invested in his communication, opinion and input has also been a learning opportunity for one to reflect on and try to emulate.

Only an outstandingly skilled and genuinely committed leader with extraordinary thoughtfulness could maintain such a high level of excellence in everything he does. No single adjective can describe the qualities possessed by MPP Walker – a unique cluster of positive attributes.

If the young local talent who have ambition to serve our communities in a political role (regardless of the ideology, the party or the position), try to emulate MPP Walker’s style and performance, it would only bring great benefit to all of us, the people of Bruce Grey.

Knowing how taxing on family life public service can be, I have the deepest gratitude to the Walker family for the sacrifices they have made while supporting their dad and husband as he did the great work he has done throughout the past 10 years.

With mixed emotions and the utmost reverence and respect, I congratulate MPP Walker on completing this extraordinary chapter in his career and wish him and his family all the best in the future.

We sincerely appreciate all you have done.

Dr. Ian Arra,
Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer,
Grey Bruce Health Unit.