"The plan is working," Dalton McGuinty says, "and now is the time to
OAKVILLE, ON, Aug. 7 /CNW/ - Now is the time to accelerate an economic
plan that has helped to deliver 340,000 more jobs than Ontario had four years
ago, says Premier Dalton McGuinty.
"Our plan for the economy is to invest in our people so they can take on
the world and win, and to work with our businesses, to attract the investment
and high paying jobs our families need," McGuinty said in a speech here today.
"The plan is working and we have 340,000 more jobs than we had four years ago,
to prove it."
In today's hyper-competitive, truly global economy, the most investment
and the best jobs go to those places with the best educated, most highly
skilled workers, and the highest quality of life, McGuinty told the Oakville
Chamber of Commerce.
"That's why we're investing in the education and skills, and health and
well-being of all Ontarians," he said.
He pointed to the $500 million auto investment fund the government used
to leverage $7 billion in new investment and secure thousands of high-skill
jobs in that industry, including 4,000 jobs at a $1 billion state-of-the-art
manufacturing facility in Ford Canada's Oakville plant.
He contrasted that with the previous government's approach - a
single-minded emphasis on tax cuts that mostly benefited the privileged few
and cuts to environmental regulations - an approach the Premier described as a
"race to the bottom."
"We fundamentally disagree with an economic strategy premised on low
wages and a low standard of living. We have a different approach. We believe
in equipping our people - all of our people - to reach higher."
For every job Ontario has lost as our economy copes with a rapidly
changing world, three new ones have been created, McGuinty said.
Still, Ontario does face challenges, particularly in helping
manufacturers transition to advanced technologies and processes, at the same
time they face high energy costs, a high dollar and higher interest rates, he
"To overcome these challenges, and continue to seize the countless
opportunities that are out there for Ontario, we need to accelerate our plan,"
"We need the federal government to be a true partner in this. We need
them to return to Ontario some of the windfall revenues they're banking from
energy taxes in the form of strategic investments in opportunity for our
businesses and fairness for our workers."
Specifically, McGuinty called on the Harper government to:
- Match Ontario's contribution to the $500-million Advanced
Manufacturing Strategy fund, which has already started to create and
retain jobs by helping manufacturers invest in modern equipment and
- Match Ontario's contribution to a recently announced $650-million
Next Generation Jobs Fund, designed to leverage private sector
investment in the research and development of new green technologies,
such as clean vehicles, that can be marketed to the world.
- Fix the Employment Insurance system, which still requires Ontarians
to work longer to qualify for employment insurance than Canadians in
other provinces, and pays them fewer benefits when they do qualify.
"Last year, the average regular benefit paid per unemployed person in
other provinces was $9,070. In Ontario, it was $5,110 - that's a gap of almost
$4,000 per worker," McGuinty said. "Surely, a worker in Thunder Bay, or
Windsor, or Hamilton, deserves the same support as a Canadian living in
McGuinty stressed that it's important for the federal government to join
all Ontarians in moving our economy forward.
"The longer I'm Premier, the more confident I am that our plan is the
right plan for Ontario's economy. Our job numbers tell us that. And investors
around the world tell us that," he said.
"But I'm equally certain that we need to accelerate that plan. The world
is moving faster every day, and so must we. Our competitors are getting
smarter and becoming more skilled every day, and so must we. Ontario can
compete. We can win. And we can continue to succeed. But the only way is by
dreaming and building and working together."
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For further information: Premier's Media Office, (416) 314-8975