The Legislature returned to action with a new Premier and a new Throne Speech. Our leader, Tim Hudak had met with Kathleen Wynne, requesting immediate action to address the debt crisis facing Ontario and help for the 600,000 Ontarians looking for work. Unfortunately, the Throne Speech indicated a plan that continues to ignore the harsh realities facing the province today, making support by our party impossible.
We will continue to propose a bold new direction to the Premier that will return our province to the prosperity that our abundant resources and highly skilled workforce are capable of. Last week, we issued our latest discussion paper titled “Respect for Rural Ontario”. It lays out 15 paths that will allow rural Ontario to flourish and help bring the province back to its historic role as the economic engine of Canada. It acknowledges the fact that agriculture is the second largest goods-producing sector in the province, employing over 700,000 people, but it can do much more with some desperately needed reforms. We need to reduce the regulatory burden by a minimum of 33% and create a one-window access to government for our farmers. Rural municipalities also need the same gas tax funding programs that the larger urban centres receive. It’s not only crucial to a strong rural economy, but it’s just the right thing to do. Our rural paper can be reviewed, along with our other discussion papers on our website – ontariopc.com.
It seems like an eternity since the Legislature was prorogued and the then Premier, Dalton McGuinty, resigned in order to sidestep the myriad of questions surrounding the cost of the power plants fiasco. Now after five months, we see the new Premier reneging on her commitment to call a Select Committee to get to the bottom of the scandal. The Justice Committee, with its limited powers continues to review the file, experiencing numerous procedural delay tactics by the Liberal-chaired committee. Last week, they heard testimony putting the relocation cost of the Oakville plant at $638 M, fifteen times the $40 M price tag that the Wynne government has confessed to. The committee also reviewed emails from the Vice-President of the Ontario Power Authority, citing the penalties of moving the Mississauga power plant and calling for them to reconsider their decision. The cancellation cost continues to escalate as the committee meets to call witnesses and review the tens of thousands of documents already released and is now estimated to be over $1.3 billion. There is much work to be done to let Ontarians know the truth about the mismanagement and unfathomable waste of taxpayers’ dollars. Ontario desperately needs a change in direction.