“We’re resilient … resourceful.
We always find a way forward.
The graduation rate has jumped from 68 to 81%.
When you compare us with the 34 OECD countries …
We’re on top …
We’re building 18 new hospitals.
We have almost 11,000 more nurses …
And 2,900 more doctors.
We’ve gone from zero to 200 family health teams serving 2.3 million patients.
And in another first for North America, we now have nurse practitioner clinics.
Today, 94% of all Ontarians have a family doctor.
Here’s another number: $11 billion dollars!
That’s how much we spend in Ontario every year to treat illness that is preventable.
All because of … Inactivity levels, bad diet, and smoking.
We’ve built 400 new schools
Our “Long-term Energy Plan” will rebuild 80% of our system over the next 20 years.
Now, some people say they can rebuild our electricity system and our bills won’t go up by one penny.
I don’t have magic.
I just have reality.
And a sense of responsibility.
We need to do this work.
And there is a cost to it.
I understand that new costs aren’t something families welcome … Especially as they emerge from the recession.
So we’re helping out with our new Clean Energy Benefit.
So far, our plan has helped create over 20,000 clean-energy jobs …
In communities like Windsor, Tilsonburg … Hamilton, Cambridge and Welland.
This year those jobs will grow to 45,000.
Next year, we’ll have 60,000.
Plato once said: ‘A life without criticism is not worth living.’
So you might say, I’ve been living life to the max.
This year, a typical Ontario restaurant will pay 67% less in provincial, corporate and sales taxes.
The savings for a software publisher are 58%.
For a manufacturer, they’re 89%.
In fact, we have cut the cost of new business investment almost in half.
And then there’s our, Ontario Child Benefit.
It’s up to $1,100, and it’s helping 1.3 million children in low-income families.
Our Opposition would act recklessly in cutting taxes and public services alike.
That’s not our way.
I just don’t believe you can cut your way to strength.
These were the highlights of the remarks made by Premier Dalton McGuinty at an event held in Toronto to outreach Ontario’s diverse communities. He was presenting Liberal’s plan for “Jobs and Growth” in Ontario.
Premier McGuinty’s remarks painted such a rosy picture of Ontario’s education and healthcare system, clean energy plan, families and businesses that I had to wonder why there is so much criticism laid upon the McGuinty government’s tax reform policies, healthcare, education and clean energy initiatives.
Generous with his time, Premier McGuinty responded that the story he is telling to Ontarians is based on the facts and measurable progress.
He stated that when McGuinty Liberals came in power, there was no system in place to measure wait times. Seven years later, an independent study suggests that wait times in Ontario are the lowest in the country.
“Those are just the facts, they are measureable, they are objective,” he said.
Responding to the question about the quality of jobs that have been recovered, Premier McGuinty noted that the jobs recovered “are not the same jobs. 85 per cent of those are full time jobs,” however.
He explained that “in this new era of globalization” there are “no jobs for life” like his parents had. People will be changing jobs eight to ten times in their life. So the government’s job is to ensure that there are means by which “training from one job to the other,” “acquire[ing] new skills, upgrade your knowledge” are available to people.
On the issue of Ontario’s approach to new comers to Ontario and new Canadians, Premier McGuinty said in his earlier remarks “Ontario’s ability to do everything we can to attract new Canadians..Bring families together..And get newcomers into the workforce quickly …Is being held back by the federal government.”
Premier McGuinty noted that the federal government has “shortchanged” Ontario by more than $200 million. With “no advance notice” Conservatives decided “on a particular date that they are making these cuts” – the cuts that are devastating for Ontario’s newcomers. This is how “these [Conservatives] guys operate,” he stated. Federal Conservatives have cut more than $44 million from Ontario’s settlement services to newcomers.
The Ontario government insists that federal Conservatives have been “inflexible” since they have begun the negotiations on Canada Ontario Immigration Agreement (COIA). Conservative Minister Jason Kenney states that these are not “cuts” but “reallocation of funds” as the number of immigrants coming to Ontario has dropped. Ontario Minister Eric Hoskins retorts that the statement is “untrue.”
Premier McGuinty states that in the new COIA agreement Ontario wants to have decision making power in “selection process [of immigrants], matching skill set [of immigrants] to meet the demands of the workplace,” and he wants to bring Ontario’s “values to family reunification.” Ontario wants to have the same deal with the feds as Quebec, British Columbia and Manitoba have. It’s interesting that Conservatives want to win a majority government by targeting Liberal ridings in the GTA, yet they are “cutting” funds from organizations that service these very communities and the communities from which the Conservatives want votes from.
Since Ontario Liberals understand that immigrants are key to Ontario’s labour force, the Ontario government announced the stabilization fund to address the needs of settlement agencies that service immigrant communities after the federal government announced “unilateral cuts” to Ontario’s settlement services.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty at a press briefing with multicultural media.