By Neil Armstrong
Pride Contributing Writer
Jamaica-born Member of Provincial Parliament in Ontario, Margarett Best, who has represented Scarborough-Guildwood since 2007, tendered her resignation on June 27.
Her resignation means Premier Kathleen Wynne must now call five by-elections this year.
This follows the resignations of former cabinet ministers, Chris Bentley and Dwight Duncan in February, former premier Dalton McGuinty in May, and former education minister Laurel Broten, who announced her decision earlier this month. Broten will be leaving the province and moving to Halifax, Nova Scotia with her family before the start of the new school year.
“I take with me the satisfaction of being greatly enriched to have shared in your history, your culture, your ways of life and our common humanity,” Best said in an announcement thanking her constituents for their support and friendship but giving no reason for stepping down.
She was not included in Premier Wynne’s new cabinet in February and has been off work on medical leave since then. Best was appointed parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Education by the Wynne-led government.
“I want to thank Margarett for her hard work on behalf of the people of Scarborough-Guildwood and all of Ontario. Since her election in 2007, Margarett has been a passionate advocate for social equality and has made a real difference in people’s lives. She held several cabinet portfolios, served on many vital committees dedicated to poverty reduction and social health, and introduced important legislative change,” said Premier Wynne in a statement regarding the resignation of Best.
In 2007, when she was first elected, Best was appointed as the Minister of Health Promotion by Premier Dalton McGinty. Following her re-election in October 2011, she was appointed Minister of Consumer Services.
Wynne said that as Minister of Health Promotion, Best helped to ban smoking in cars when children are present and led Ontario’s successful bid for the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games, “which will showcase our region at its finest. And, as Minister of Consumer Services, she introduced the Wireless Services Agreements Act to strengthen protection for Ontario consumers.”
The premier said in 2011, Best made history by becoming the first African-Canadian woman to successfully win re-election to the Ontario legislature.
“Throughout her political and community involvements, Margarett has proved herself as a distinguished role model, a proud mother and a strong voice for Ontario’s under-represented communities,” she said, wishing the outgoing politician all the best in this new phase of her life and career.
Best was elected a Member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament in the riding of Scarborough-Guildwood on October 10, 2007, succeeding another Jamaican-Canadian, Mary Anne Chambers, who did not run again.
Best was awarded the African Canadian Achievement Award in 2006 and another African Canadian Award in 2011 for excellence in politics.