‘Paths to prosperity’

In my column last month, I wrote about jobs and the economy, and our PC Caucus’ ideas to revitalize manufacturing in Ontario.

We believe it is the responsibility of the provincial government to create an economic climate where entrepreneurs and companies will want to invest and create new jobs. And we believe it is the responsibility of opposition parties not to simply oppose, but also to present constructive, alternative suggestions for making things better.

Our latest discussion paper, “Paths to Prosperity: Advanced Manufacturing for a Better Ontario,” is presented in that spirit.

We propose steps to make Ontario’s electricity costs more competitive, by replacing the subsidy program for wind and solar projects with an energy policy based on what’s best for the economy as a whole. A new power rate for manufacturing and resource-based industries should be considered, to restore our traditional competitive advantage.

The government could also seek to negotiate trade deals with neighboring states and provinces, so that we’re not dumping our surplus power at the lowest possible price.

In strengthening the skills of our workforce, we suggest that our public education system has a vital role in preparing students for the job opportunities of the 21st century.

It is a given that the apprenticeship system needs to be modernized, and we question the need for the costly new bureaucracy of the College of Trades.

And we seek greater workplace democracy when it comes to the choice to join a union.

To better stimulate job-creating investment, we call on the government to articulate a truthful plan to eliminate the deficit in less than five years, accelerate the tax benefit of major capital investments, and create a new tax credit for start-up companies.

We take aim at red tape, the silent killer of jobs, calling for a top to bottom review of Ontario’s regulations, with the goal of eliminating the regulatory burden by one-third over the three years.

Planning to build the regional transportation infrastructure that the GTA and Hamilton areas need could be expedited by having one provincial agency that has the clout to make things happen. We suggest building new subway lines in Toronto should be the priority over new surface-level transit.

We also see promoting exports as an opportunity, along with greater cooperation with our prosperous provincial neighbours like Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The entire discussion paper can be found at our party’s website at: http://www.ontariopc.com/policy/


* * *

In a few days, my newsletter to constituents, entitled Keeping in Touch-Fall 2013, should be arriving in your mailbox.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read about some of the issues I’m raising on behalf of everyone in Wellington-Halton Hills. I welcome your ideas and suggestions at any time.

* * *

The Ontario Legislature resumes sitting on Sept. 9. In my next column, I hope to update you on the latest developments at Queen’s Park, as we continue to reach out to the promise of the future.

Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott welcomes comments. He can be reached at 1-800-265-2366. His website address is www.tedarnottmpp.com.


Ted Arnott