September job numbers reflect Liberal incompetence
(October 23, 2015) Recently we celebrated Thanksgiving, a time when we normally gather with our families, eat good food and count our blessings.
But for many Ontarians it's hard to feel celebratory these days. That's because thousands of people across this province are trying to find work or know someone who is looking for a job.
The stress that unemployment creates on people and their families is terrible.
The province's economic struggles are largely due to the bad policies of Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario Liberals.
Job numbers for Ontario were released earlier this month and they show unemployment increased in September, continuing a trend that started in August.
The September unemployment rate for Ontario reached 6.9 percent, with the province losing 33,800 jobs.
Those numbers are disheartening and attached to each one is a personal story.
Most people want to work. They want to earn money to provide for their families. They want to save money for retirement and so they can help their children with the costs of post-secondary school.
Sadly, under the Liberals, it's getting harder for families to achieve their goals.
The Liberals like to brag that Ontario's economy is thriving, but the Fraser Institute reports that private sector investment has only risen by 17.8 percent since 2002.
While automotive assembly jobs and parts manufacturing in Ontario accounted for roughly one in five jobs in 2001, the ratio fell to one in eight by 2013.
Jobs in the province's forestry sector have been reduced by 52 percent since 2005 and since 2006 the province's agriculture sector has lost more than 18,000 jobs.
In the hospital sector, more than 2,500 jobs have been cut since 2010.
These blows to our economy are the result of the Wynne government and the bad decisions it makes. This includes the fire sale of Hydro One and the new Ontario pension plan, both of which create uncertainty at a time when companies need stability in order to invest.
The high cost of hydro doesn't help matters either.
When our electricity rates were among the most competitive, Ontario was a manufacturing heavyweight and the economic powerhouse of Canada.
Now that our rates are among the highest in North America, we are down more than 350,000 manufacturing jobs.
We all know someone who has suffered in this economy. Words such as "buyout" and "downsizing" are all too common around kitchen tables in Ontario. We can all name businesses that have closed.
Many people are under-employed or can't get more than part-time hours. College and university graduates wrestle with finding work in their field. Older Ontarians face challenges too as they pound the pavement looking for employment.
To make things worse, the cost of living in this province is going up as Ontarians struggle to make ends meet.
A Liberal government has meant higher prices and higher taxes that impact us all.
Until the Wynne government address these critical economic issues, Ontario will continue on this dismal path.
As PC Leader Patrick Brown has said, we can and we must do better.
Jim Wilson is the Progressive Conservative MPP for Simcoe-Grey.