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Ontario Needs a New Economic and Jobs Plan says Wilson

(July 29, 2013) It's been a bleak couple of years since the last provincial election; years consumed by Liberal scandals, debt, job losses and very little progress.

Ontario PC Leader, Tim Hudak, has consistently said, and I agree, that Ontario can lead again, but that the government needs to develop a plan to deal with what has become the biggest jobs and debt crisis of our lifetime. Our plan can be found in our 13th in a series of whitepapers entitled, Paths to Prosperity: Advanced Manufacturing for a Better

Let me tell you why.

Not only are job numbers down in Ontario, but nothing is getting done.  Not a single piece of jobs legislation was even introduced by the Liberal government this past session. The same goes for fiscal legislation to reduce the debt and improve the economy. 

We currently have a provincial unemployment rate of 7.1 percent. This is the 78th consecutive month the rate has been higher than the national average.

We have some of the highest hydro rates in North America.  We pay more than double that of neighbouring jurisdictions--the average industrial electricity price in Ontario is $85 per megawatt hour compared to Manitoba, Quebec and Michigan that pay $40 per megawatt hour.  

We pay a total of $11,859,000,000 in regulations.  According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Ontario employers face the largest regulatory burden in Canada.

We have slipped from 9th in 2000 to 15th in 2010 as the top manufacturing nation in the world.

We have received credit downgrades. We have been considered a have not province since 2009, a first in Ontario's history.  We pay $11 billion a year in debt payments, which accounts for our third largest expenditure next to healthcare and education. We have an astounding $11.7 billion deficit and $273 billion debt that the Liberals have doubled since first elected in 2003.

And, it gets worse.  Ontario lost 13,000 jobs in February, 58,000 jobs in March and another 38,700 full-time jobs in June, adding to our already half a million men and women out of work. 

One of the biggest industries hit has been the manufacturing sector. Since the Liberals were elected Ontario has lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs.  This includes jobs from the closures of once prosperous companies in my riding such as Alcoa and Goodyear.

It is a troubling situation and it should give cause for Premier Wynne to revisit and devise a new economic plan. Instead, the Liberals are continuing with a bogus energy plan that is increasing hydro rates, mounting red tape, and more and more hidden taxes--including Premier Wynne's recently implemented trades tax and tire tax. Not to mention the plethora of scandals and mismanagement.

The Liberals continue with the charade that they can eliminate the deficit by 2017-18. This is mathematically impossible considering spending is expected to increase under their plan by $8.4 billion a year adding an extra $33.6 billion by 2017 to our already astounding debt.

Don Drummond, the Liberal's own auditor, noted in his 2012 report that if no action is taken by this government our debt will increase to $411.4 billion by 2017-18.  According to Drummond, Ontario faces more severe economic and fiscal challenges than most Ontarians realize.

The Liberals also tout that they have created 400,000 new jobs. They fail to mention, however, that the majority of these jobs are bureaucratic and are government paid adding to our already astounding public sector payroll.  StatsCan data from last year shows that the government sector grew by 48,000 jobs.

With job numbers down, unemployment up and a significant amount of debt that our children's children will be stuck having to deal with, the situation is desperate.

Tim Hudak and the Ontario PC Caucus are the only party that has an actual jobs plan. 

Some of the recommendations in our whitepaper on manufacturing include: Establishing a new, affordable power rate for manufacturing at a price that is competitive with neighbouring jurisdictions; matching provincial retraining assistance to the needs of employers and the job market; encouraging productivity by making investments in manufacturing facilities and making new equipment fully tax-deductible; ending the red-tape runaround; aggressively pushing for more international and interprovincial trade opportunities; and so on.

The bottom line is clear. Ontario needs a jobs plan and manufacturing needs to be part of it. Our complete whitepaper can be read online on my website.  I encourage you to have a look.


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