Interview with Joe Dickson

MBE: We started the interview asking Mr. Dickson about his family background and his political journey?

Mr. Dickson: My ancestors were from Ireland; in 1846 we moved to Canada and began farming in Pickering in the area of Cherrywood. My Wife’s family were farmer, when they came over from England and settled in Bowmanville area. My parents were married in Loudickson. We were ten brothers and sisters and I’m the oldest of all. I was raised in a Christian home and my parents were very devoted persons. I believe there were three things in their life that made them a successful parent; firstly, they loved God; second, they loved their children and third and importantly, they loved each other.

Everybody asks me how, why and when I got involved in politics; I guess people don’t remember that when you have nothing, everybody helps everybody else, that’s how I got into politics.

I first got elected as a Catholic School Trustee when I was 29 and I have been elected for 40 years for the Catholic School Board. I was a Regional Councillor for seven terms and was Ajax Deputy Mayor and now MPP Ajax/Pickering from last three times.

MBE: After observing two Medals in Mr. Dickson’s office, we asked him to describe what are these medals are given to him for?

Mr. Dickson: Mr. Dickson: Her Highness Queen Elizabeth has conferred me with these medals in appreciation of my work towards the community on golden and diamond jubilee celebration of her 50th and 60th Birthday Anniversaries I was fortunate enough to have two of those. Also, I have been awarded ‘citizen of the His secretary Ms. Laura mentioned that these medals also represent the amount of sports team Mr. Joe Dickson has sponsored over the period in addition to his voluntary work towards the community.

To which Mr. Dickson responded and said, I have sponsored many teams through my business. This is something very near and dear to my heart because I started sponsoring them when I started my part time business as a teenager, i.e.18 years old. I had started minor hockey and was part of Ajax basketball Just the fact that we either started or helped all sports because what you want is your youth involved and then you want your younger parents involved so as youth gets older we can keep them involved. Last year was Ajax all timers hockey and I helped them start, I sat on their 1st committee, I sponsored them the 1st year and it was 40 years last year that we sponsored a team in that league. That’s what it’s all about “EVERYBODY HELPED EVERYBODY ELSE”. When we need help to go up and to help other people, then other people come along to help us out and that’s what's important to us.


MBE: When we asked Mr. Dickson to give us a little bit of the inside of his family like his wife and kids?

Mr. Dickson: “I married to a wonderful girl by the name of Donna, we have been married for 50 years this coming October. We were blessed with 2 children. We have a small family, even though we both came from large families, mine 10 and her 8. We have 5 grandchildren and everything is wonderful. It’s just what life is all about.

MBE: After getting to know all about his wonderful family we asked Mr. Dickson to share his experience in his Dad’s printing business which he started in early forties?

Mr. Dickson: My father had started the first newspaper in Ajax which was the Advertiser. Those days we used to print the paper on a GESTETNER, It’s called a MIMEOGRAPH MACHINE and it worked on a stencil. You put a stencil in a typewriter, type on it, cut the stencil which is a fine case of film, put it on a GESTETNER, crank it by hand; then you take the pages, gather them and put a staple in the corner. It would have 4 to 5 pages and that was it. The technology has changed a lot since then. The sophisticated and faster machines have replaced aging old Mimeograph.

MBE: It was amazing history and knowledge on how printing was done in the early 40s, so we decided to ask Mr. Dickson about himself, like what sports he uses to play, hobbies and things he would like to do in his favourite fun time?

Mr. Dickson: I was captain of the Ajax Catchers that was a senior basketball team we played in various areas of Ontario. We played in the Durham industrial league, won that at least on one occasion. We went to Ontario quarter finals twice with the Ajax Catchers. Ajax only had 600 homes back at that time, we were fortunate that when I started basketball here we actually had 4 leagues- Adam, Junior, Senior and Ladies. In total, we had about 240 people in basketball; right from kids to young men and women generally up to age the of 25.

In my young days, I loved car racing. I had a hobby of driving racing cars. I still own the original 1969 model Charger RT, which you only see on the TV now.

The most quality time I would like to spend is with my wife, children and grandchildren. I just like to get together at the cottage and by luck my children have a cottage on the same lake so I can go there and they come to our place. When its winter time everybody is a Snowmobiler and children love snowmobiling. I am very fortunate that I see my children regularly. Last weekend I just took a break from my regular workload and went to the cottage to finish some papework, and the kids showed up. It’s great and peaceful to spend time with them.

MBE: Mr. Dickson words were encouraging for immigrants. We ask him, what the political leaders are focusing on, in terms of creating more jobs and providing support in setting up small businesses. We have seen during our business journey that the life of a business is very short in Canada, especially the smaller businesses.

Mr. Dickson: You have to understand in Ontario the number one business has been manufacturing and that is getting hit because of the closure of many manufacturing plants. We are doing everything to grow manufacturing industry in Ontario. The auto industry is one of our major employers in Ontario. In recent times we have seen some major decisions have been made by GM, Ford and other car manufacturers by cutting down their productions. This has created a greater vacuum in the job market. The Ontario government is doing their best to increase jobs in the region and promote setting up manufacturing plants in the region. We are providing all support to the people interested in setting up new businesses by conducting seminars, offering pre-business launch training, added new portfolios in the Ontario government, new ministerial positions and governance that allows us to reach and help more people. And that’s something the Premier of Ontario wants to see. As I said the focus is on getting manufacturing industry back on track and work towards improving job market. Though It might take time, but it is going to happen. Soon you see a prosperous Ontario.

With these encouraging words from Mr. Dickson we wind up the interview….