More Experts Agree McGuinty Government Investing in "Skills to Jobs" for all Ontarians



    QUEEN'S PARK, March 25 /CNW/ - Experts from all sectors agree that
today's Ontario Budget continues the progress the McGuinty Government has made
to date:

    Richard Florida, Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute, Rotman
    School of Business

    "With this new budget, Ontario, which is already a leader in innovation,
in research and creativity, entrepreneurship and new business formation, one
of the most, if not the most competitive provinces in the world, positions
itself to be a model for future competitiveness and prosperity - not only in
Canada but in North America and worldwide."

    Carol Wilding, President, Toronto Board of Trade

    "We're extremely pleased to see the investment in infrastructure...In
Toronto and the Toronto region, in order to be globally competitive we need to
invest in infrastructure - today's investment in that regard is great for
Toronto."

    Doug Reycraft, President, Association of Municipalities of Ontario

    "Investing in job creation and municipal infrastructure is a sound
investment for Ontario. Investing an additional $1 Billion in municipal
infrastructure means more job creation, sustainable, competitive, communities
and a better quality of life for Ontarians."

    Hazel McCallion, Mayor, City of Mississauga

    "I think that the budget has dealt with a lot of challenges that we're
facing in Ontario, such as unemployment and the programs they've come forward
to get people retrained...So the budget was an overall big advancement, in my
opinion, for many things that we're facing, municipalities and the province as
a whole -- and I have to tell you, I really endorse, as you could see from the
applause, that it's time that the federal Minister of Finance, Mr. Flaherty,
stopped recommending people not investing in Ontario. I think the Prime
Minister should get him under control."

    Shelley Carroll, City of Toronto Budget Chief

    "There is great news in terms of economic development in here. It has
made us very competitive."

    Dr. Janice Willet, President, Ontario Medical Association

    "The government has taken steps in recent years to reduce wait times, and
together with the hard work of doctors and other health care professionals,
patients in targeted areas are getting better access to care...The additional
investments in general surgeries are a positive step towards improving access
for patients in the province."

    Ian Howcroft, President, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association

    "We're pleased that we have the opportunity to continue our partnership
with the government to help manufacturers and help manufacturing entities to
improve productivity and operational efficiencies."

    Gerry Fedchun, President, Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association

    "Absolutely this is a positive budget."

    Buzz Hargrove, President, Canadian Auto Workers

    "The Ontario government's announcement today that it will spend hundreds
of millions on improving transit, roads, bridges, water systems and other
projects will not only help rebuild our communities, but also create jobs at a
crucial time...Spending more on infrastructure, training, housing and
manufacturing is exactly the right way to respond to an economic downturn."

    Geri Kamenz, President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture

    "Knowing the province's overall financial prospects at this time, this is
a good budget for Ontario farmers...It shows continued commitment to
agriculture and our rural communities...The McGuinty government has proven its
willingness to address agricultural crises through contingency funding in
recent years and we believe the government will continue to be there for
Ontario's farmers."

    David Leckie, President, Ontario Good Roads Association

    "Once again the province has shown a commitment to renewing Ontario's
vital infrastructure."

    Andy Manahan, Executive Director, Residential and Civil Construction
    Alliance of Ontario

    "With this budget, the government has acknowledged the importance of
infrastructure investment to the future of Ontario and its economy."

    Beatrice Schmied, CEO, Ontario Public Transit Association

    "The new infrastructure investment of $497 million for transit projects
in the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton is much appreciated."

    Mark Basciano, President, Ontario Home Builders' Association

    "Infrastructure expansion is the key long-term investment all governments
need to make to ensure sustainable prosperity for all Ontarians. We must
continue to invest today to meet the challenges of tomorrow."

    Patty Rout, First-Vice President/Treasurer, OPSEU

    "We like what the government says about properly funding public services
and the need for fair bargaining with those who provide these services. Public
services are critical; more so after the years of vicious Conservative cuts.
Remember - tax cuts mean service cuts."

    Dr. Paul C. Genest, Chair, Council of Ontario Universities and McMaster
    University President

    "This is just another example of the leadership of the Ontario government
in advancing higher education...Ontario universities benefited from the
$6.2 Billion Reaching Higher Plan in the last mandate and are appreciate of
the sustained focus the government has brought to advancing higher education,
exemplified by investments of $135 million and over $200 million in capital,
as well as further investment in student aid, grants for technology and
distance learners."

    Loralea Carruthers Vice President, Ontario Public School Boards'
    Association

    "OPSBA appreciates the stability of funding and the recognition of the
commitments that the government has already made to school boards and we've
seen those in the budget."

    David Clegg, President, Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

    "We appreciate the $315 million increase in per pupil funding announced
in today's provincial budget as well as the new funding to support literacy
and numeracy and special needs students."

    John Campbell, Chair, Toronto District School Board

    "There's another $250 million coming to Ontario schools, and I think on
the whole, the government has continued it's really outstanding commitment to
public education."

    Linda Franklin, President and CEO, Colleges Ontario

    "The budget investments into the education and training of our workforce
will help more businesses and industries to compete, and help more people to
fulfill their potential and find meaningful and well-paying jobs...The
McGuinty government has correctly identified the skills shortage as a priority
in Ontario. This budget recognizes Ontario must produce greater numbers of
college graduates to meet the workforce challenges throughout our economy."

    Tyler Wiles, President, College Student Alliance

    "College and university students welcome the Textbook and Technology
Grant that will start to ease the pressures felt by the growing cost of
obtaining a postsecondary education."

    Chris Locke, Executive Director, Ontario University Students Association

    "The creation of a distance grant will help to enable student choice,
student mobility and to ensure that Ontarians can select the best program for
their skills, their needs, and aspirations."

    Paul Davenport, President, University of Western Ontario

    "The renewal of facilities is one of the highest priorities in our
strategic plan and this wonderful investment from the Ontario government will
make a real difference in the teaching, learning and research environments at
The University of Western Ontario."

    Sarah Diamond, President Ontario College of Art and Design

    "This is a really exciting day not only for OCAD, but I think in fact for
the digital media industries, for research in the sector and also for a lot of
related areas of research and economic development in Ontario...For us, it
means that we actually can move forward with incredible initiatives and really
pushing the digital industries in Ontario with the support of the budget."

    Adam Spence, Executive Director, Ontario Association of Food Banks

    "We are welcoming what the provincial government has put forward...What
we have is the right steps towards poverty reduction in Ontario...We've seen
those first investments made. That's positive...The provincial government is
headed in the right direction....we've seen the dental care program, the
2 percent increase to social assistance, and the student nutrition program."

    Sandy Singers, Chair, Ontario Association of Food Banks

    "We're happy to see any developments on dental care for children in the
province - it's a very important part of overall health in general and it's
been overlooked for a long time so were very happy to see that piece in
place."

    Don Pearson, General Manager, Conservation Ontario

    "I think the budget is a good balance of insuring that Ontario's economic
prosperity continues in the face of some upcoming uncertainty that we are all
anxious about and obviously the fact that we are able to keep our eye on the
environmental ball is important for all of us as well because without a
healthy environment we're not going to have a healthy economy."

    Ilse Treurnicht, CEO, MaRS Discovery District

    "I would say the sustained investment in the education and innovation
agenda is absolutely essential for the future of Ontario's prosperity."

    Lynn Peterson, Mayor of Thunder Bay

    "I love to see the research and innovation aspect. And Recognizing
Thunder Bay's potential is in there. And certainly we moving forward on the
whole research and innovation side - to see support from the government...is
really welcome and certainly we see it growing."

    Jonathan Sceeles, Investment Advisor, Edward Jones

    "...it is a third consecutive balanced budget, which is a very good news
for Ontario."





For further information:

For further information: Brian Clow, (416) 522-9697,
bclow@liberal.ola.org


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