Return Date Finally Set

February 4, 2013

By Jim McDonell

Just over a week ago, Kathleen Wynne was chosen as the new leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, and by default, our next Premier. Ms. Wynne has announced that she will recall the legislature on February 19, just over four months after it was prorogued by Dalton McGuinty to stop the further release of information around the $1 billion cost to cancel two power plants to save Liberal seats.

Kathleen Wynne now faces the enormous task of turning Ontario around. The people of Ontario are wondering if she can make the change away from the path that she, as part of the Liberal Cabinet, took our province over the past nine years. She is staring at a sad record where Ontario has become a “Have Not” province for the first time in its proud history and as reported by Don Drummond, is on its way to a $411 billion debt. Our unemployment rate has been higher than the national average for the past 6 years, despite the massive increase in spending. The new Premier needs to make some tough decisions that are aimed at making our province competitive again, and not just about securing large political donations. Afraid of losing millions of dollars in donations, volunteer hours, and Liberal targeted advertising, Ms. Wynne is already making overtures that are geared towards regaining the support of the large unions that sponsored the Working Families Coalition attack ads during the last two provincial elections.

We need a change in direction to protect the services and the standard of living that we hold so dear in this province. We need a strong private sector that provides the good jobs that pay for these services. For our businesses to prosper, they must be able to compete on a level playing field with competitive energy, workplace insurance, and tax rates. They also need government to get out of the way and let businesses spend their energy producing goods and services, and not filling out needless paperwork. Our businesses are bogged down with red tape. With Ms. Wynne at the cabinet table, the Liberals doubled the number of government agencies to over 600 in nine years. A Tim Hudak government is committed to reducing government regulations by at least 30 percent.

Over the past year, PC Caucus members have traveled the province, reaching out to stakeholders and subject experts, to develop bold policies to turn our province around. To date, we have issued ten discussion papers, including three in the past month on children and youth services, social assistance, and education. Ontario needs a change in direction, and we encourage people to review these plans (www.ontariopc.com), discuss them with your friends and neighbours, and let us know your thoughts. The people of Ontario expect their government to efficiently deliver the services we need and want and to create an economic climate that supports the businesses that we need to help pay for them. Ontarians should demand not less from their government. With the serious issues facing our province today, it’s time to get to work.