| Jan 24, 2018

It’s often been said that on St. Patrick’s Day, everybody’s Irish. It’s much the same on Robbie Burns Day, everybody’s Scottish.

Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington MP Scott Reid has Scottish roots. His MPP counterpart, Randy Hillier does not but that doesn’t stop him from donning the kilt, downing a wee deoch-an-doris, and carving up the haggis.

For a few years now, Reid and Hillier have been celebrating the Scottish holiday in Perth and Verona, and last Sunday was no exception.

As piper Steve Brooke led the procession, Hillier carried the beloved sausage while Reid followed with a book of Robbie Burns’ words.

And this year, Hillier finally wore a kilt, the Maple Leaf Tartan, to the event.

“I don’t want this to go to his (Hillier’s) head,” said Reid. “But last night in Perth, a lady told me ‘I like your knees but I like his better.’”

Reid said he was pleased how everyone, including Hillier, has embraced the Scottish celebration.

“To me, this is what Canada is all about — tolerance, inclusiveness,” Reid said. “It’s a very Canadian thing.”

As Hillier prepared to carve into the haggis, Reid gave a brief history lesson on the Scottish poet, referencing Burns’ Address To The Toothache and Written By Somebody On The Window Of an Inn at Stirling on seeing the Royal Palace in ruin.

“Scott and I enjoy doing this,” Hillier said. “I guess that’s why we do it every year.”

Hillier then acknowledged local council members Ron Vandewal, Pat Barr, John McDougall and Brent Cameron.

As to his Scottish garb, Hillier had this to say.

“I’m not Scottish,” he said. “But I do enjoy haggis and a bit of scotch.

“I noticed yesterday that I had a much bigger sporran (a purse of sorts worn at the front of a kilt) than Scott but today he has a bigger one on.”

Then, after Reid had deftly avoided any mention of politics, Hillier couldn’t resist pointing out that there is an election looming in Ontario.

“This is an important year,” Hillier said. “In June, you’ll have a chance to accept the status quo that hasn’t let Ontario become everything it can be or go down a different path.

“Ontario has had some very Toronto-centric policies lately and we need to show how important rural Ontario is.”

Hillier then told a story about how, last September, he was invited to ceremonies commemorating the 225th anniversary of the very first Ontario Legislature in 1792.

“MPPs from the very first legislature were invited and Frontenac was one of them,” Hillier said. “And the very first act passed by that the first legislature was an act to end slavery in Ontario.

“Those first representatives took action and hopefully we can return to that.”

The gathering ended with the singing of Auld Lang Syne.

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