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Ontario: The Once Great Leader in Canada

August 31, 2015

Ontario is no longer the greatest province in Canada. Over the past 12 years since the Liberal government was elected, Ontario’s debt has ballooned from $125 Billion to an almost insurmountable $300 Billion. Chatham-Kent-Essex has lost over 12,000 jobs, health care needs are rising while health care budgets are being slashed. Hydro rates have increased 49.2% since October 2011 forcing many businesses to either reduce their work force or shut-down, causing unemployment to skyrocket.

The PC caucus stands tall with Ontarians and will continue to challenge this current Liberal government. Not only is it imperative when it comes to protecting businesses of all sizes because they create jobs, but it is equally important to stand tall on moral issues because it is the right thing to do. There was a time when we fought for protecting the middle class and the less fortunate; knew how to live within our means and not overspend; where our word was once our bond and not merely political rhetoric; we didn’t brag about how great we were because we were too busy doing what was needed to be done.

We were once a proud Province that once had a thriving economy; a leader in agriculture in both food processing and agribusiness; encouraged and rewarded innovation; saw medical miracle advancements; wiped out many killer diseases and experienced manufacturing at its’ best.

We once aspired to real intelligence and not to merely the unproven ideologies of individuals; and lastly, the reality is Ontario is full of problems and police investigations. We cannot bury our heads in the sand thinking our problems will go away or worse yet, believe we don’t have any major problems.
But now after over a decade of neglect, the results show we have slid from a “have to a have not” province and the careless mismanagement of Ontario’s finances will be a heavy burden for several generations to come.

Sadly, Ontario which was once the economic engine driving Canada forward is now the caboose. We have fallen from first to worst and unless we figure out how to get our economy back on track, it will only get worse.

Ontario does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. The Liberal government has not learned from the past. It continues to over-promise and over-spend. Election promises were quickly forgotten and now Government policies never mentioned in election campaigns are forcing businesses to leave the province and are penalizing Ontarians. I believe in openness and transparency, not trickery.

Credit ratings for our province continue to slide putting Ontario on the brink of disaster. The amount of interest being paid on the staggering debt is the third largest expenditure of this Liberal government, with only health care and education having greater expenditures. A one percent increase in the interest rates will further cost the people of Ontario an additional $500 Million in interest payments with nothing to show for it. In a global economy, investors looking at Ontario and knowing our economy is shaky at best are slow to invest.

This matters to all of us because we fund the government. If it mishandles our money, we pay more. If it wrecks its credit-rating, we pay more in borrowing costs. If businesses do not invest, Ontario tax revenues will continue to dwindle and personal taxes will continue to go up to cover that deficit.

To encourage economic growth and keep both large and small companies viable in Ontario, hydro rates must be lowered. We must look at where our best infrastructure opportunities lie, invest wisely and slowly work at improving it so that goods can get to their destinations in a timely manner. We must cut red tape in order to make it easier for businesses to survive and eventually thrive.

We need practical solutions to our problems. Not rhetoric or unproven theories based on some form of ideology. We need to eliminate the Green Energy Act, cancel the Ontario Registered Pension Plan, and stay away from the proposed “Cap and Trade” which will kill businesses and make goods and services more expensive. We need to protect our most vulnerable people ensuring they receive the health care they need and deserve in a timely manner.

It is time to get back to the basics and truly care for the people who once helped make our province a leader. These are real people with real bills. They can’t afford to run up personal debt like this province is doing. It’s time we put Ontarians first!

Rick Nicholls, MPP