Wilson Enjoying Job as Interim Leader of Ontario PC Party
(September 26, 2014) It has been an interesting few months. Serving my riding and the province of Ontario as Interim Leader of the Official Opposition is an absolute honour for me and one that I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoy.
While the PC Party has only been placed in my care until a new PC leader is chosen, I feel the gravity of the responsibility to my constituents and Ontarians to hold this Liberal government to account and push for the change Ontario needs.
As Leader, I am committed to an Ontario where everyone has an opportunity to work and prosper; where government is friends to employers and employees, not a barrier to successful businesses; and, most importantly, an Ontario where you can be confident that the frontline services you rely on are always there for you.
These are essential elements for the success of our province, as is strengthening friendly partnerships with the many groups and organizations across Ontario that are motivated to make our province the best place to live and work.
It’s been a busy few months for me. I’ve been surprised by the amount of administrative work that comes with the position. Letters, emails, time spent working with the PC Party Executive and Fund. A big part of my job is building on and maintaining relationships. Relations with supporters, non-supporters, the media, stakeholders – all are vital to the success of our party and democratic process.
I’ve also been pleasantly surprised with a multitude of cultural events that I get invited to. I was happy to recently attend the Roncesvalles Polish Festival and Bloor West Ukrainian Festival. I was pleased to tour and attend the grand opening of the new Aga Khan Museum. I attended flag raising ceremonies commemorating the Independence of both Macedonia and the Republic of Moldova.
Likewise, I was also happy to attend the Association of Municipalities Annual Conference where I heard from municipal leaders about the ongoing challenges they face. One of the biggest problems expressed is the Wynne government’s decision to eliminate the policing component of the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund, thereby reducing the amount of transfers OPP serviced municipalities receive from the province by $75 million over three years. This has left many, mostly rural, communities spending as much as half of their budgets on emergency services.
I also recently attended the International Plowing Match and Rural Expo, which we were lucky to host in Simcoe County this year. We all know the barriers this government has created in agriculture. High taxes, sky-rocketing energy rates and needless red tape are all stifling this industry.
One of my chief concerns across the board continues to be province’s spiraling debt. On September 22nd the government’s public accounts confirmed increasing deficits and spending, which goes against even the most basic economic principles of how to balance a budget.
Ontario’s deficit is up from $9.2 billion in 2012-13 to $10.5 billion in 2013-14 and is forecast to rise even further to $12.5 billion this fiscal year. At the same time the government continues to spend. Spending is up $3.9 billion and has increased in 16 different ministries. The Liberals say they don’t want to borrow from reserves to cover operating costs, yet they continue to do so. It’s yet another example of this government saying one thing while doing the opposite.
Overall, I can honestly say that I am humbled to be serving as Interim Leader of the Ontario PC Party. For me, it’s not just about building our party to win the next election; it’s about winning so we can bring in the change our province needs and deserves. This is what I will be working toward in the months ahead.