QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak rose in the Ontario Legislature on Thursday to respond to the Liberal Government’s Economic Update.
Here is the text of Mr. Hudak’s speech:
Mr. Tim Hudak: After seven years of more of the same tired old rhetoric, missed targets, job-killing tax, hydro increases, and runaway wasteful spending, it is time for change here in the province of Ontario.
I want to make three key points today. First, Ontario families are working longer and harder than ever. They’re spending less time with their children, less time at home, and, thanks to Dalton McGuinty’s government, less money in the family—
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): I would just remind the honourable member on the use of names.
Mr. Tim Hudak: For all they pay in new taxes and fees, they’re getting less in return from this government. In fact, we find out today costs are going up even more with double-digit hydro increases. What is the Premier’s response? More costly energy experiments, more tax increases like the HST, a bloated bureaucracy, and more McGuinty government waste.
Families know that hydro rates have increased by 75%—100%, in fact, if you have a smart meter. They slapped down the HST on hydro bills across our province. Now the Premier, just a few months out from an election, wants to give back a few mere drops in the bucket.
While hard-working families deserve relief in any form they can get, they see this gesture for what it really is: a transparent shell game played with their own money by a government that is out of touch, out of gas and, increasingly, out of time.
Worse yet, families can expect to see even more, with double-digit increases in their hydro bills in 2011 and beyond. According to this government’s own fiscal update, this so-called benefit will be erased in very short order as families’ hydro bills skyrocket 46% more in the next five years—minimum.
Whether it comes out of the pockets of taxpayers or ratepayers, families know that under Premier McGuinty they’re paying more. They’re saying, “Enough is enough, and it is time for change in Ontario.”
My second point is that this government has mismanaged Ontario’s finances so badly that they are somehow responsible for both the largest tax increases and the largest debt increases in Ontario’s history. They’ve taken in since last year more than $12 billion in revenue. Families are paying more in taxes and fees, but this government didn’t put a dent in their massive budget deficit, despite $12 billion more in revenue.
What does that mean? They continue to spend well over $2 million more than they’re taking in—every hour, 24 hours a day, seven days a week—and shrugging their shoulders and leaving it up to the next generation to figure out how to pay for this runaway spending. That kind of fiscal mismanagement is why Premier McGuinty earned the distinction of being crowned Canada’s worst financial manager by the Fraser Institute.
This brings me to my final point: Families know that the same tired government that got us into this mess certainly cannot be expected to get us out. For all the Premier’s promises that his HST tax grab would somehow create jobs, we’ve seen over 41,000 private sector jobs lost in the four months since they slapped down the HST.
The Premier’s expensive energy experiments, like his sweetheart backroom deal with Samsung, are chasing jobs out of the province and sending them to Korea. In reality, they’re taking more money out of the wallets of families, who will soon be paying $732 more per year on their hydro bills.
Ontario families want change. They didn’t get it from the government today. We saw more of the same tired, out-of-gas policies. Clearly, after seven years in office, the only way to bring the change that Ontario families need and deserve is to change this Premier and his government and bring in a PC majority government so Ontario can lead again.
We will advance our priorities. We’ll bring real relief to Ontario families. We’ll hold government in restraint so that we focus on the priorities of families and focus on job creation, so that Ontario can once again be the economic powerhouse of our great country.