TORONTO – Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak addressed a crowd of party faithful last night in Toronto at a fund-raising dinner.
Here is the text of Hudak’s remarks:
Once again you’ve brought together about a thousand of your closest friends for this intimate little dinner. But this time, it’s the best-attended, highest-dollar-raising GTA Dinner in the history of the PC Party of Ontario.
Tony, you’ve made a career out of amazing achievements but this time I am grateful that you’ve given your leadership, vision, and, shall we say, very persuasive selling skills to us here once again. To everyone who helped make this night a success and to all of you who chose to be here, I want to say thank you.
The resources we’ve raised here tonight will go a long way in the fight to bring change to Ontario that is already well underway. Of course, this evening means more to me than that.
Two years ago, in 2009, our party elected me leader. And the very first major address I gave in my new role was at this very GTA Dinner. Many of you have been with me since those very early days. I want to thank you for your support and your words of encouragement.
When I look back on it, that first night really helped define the course that brought us to where we are today – ready to bring real, honest, lasting change to the province of Ontario.
We said we would listen. And what we heard that night, and in the following weeks and months, became the foundation of changebook. That’s how we built a plan for change that will make Ontario a leader once again.
Now, I’ve come full circle. Because tonight is my last major address before the election on October 6th— just 49 days from today. Tonight is my last chance to be with a big group of friends, to take charge of the challenge, and get ready for the big battle. We are going to deliver change to Ontario.
Change to clean up government. To stop the scandals, the waste and the secret deals. Change to guarantee the services you need. The services you expect for your tax dollars. Change to put more money in your pockets, and make this the best place in Canada to find a good, long-term, well-paid job. Change that will get government out of the way of the people who create the jobs we so badly need.
Tonight, I’d like to tell you about three of most important areas to which change is coming. First, let me talk a little about the role of government. Under Dalton McGuinty, it doesn’t just have a role. It’s the cast, the chorus, crew, and the guy who mops the stage. We have more government than ever before. Getting into more places than it’s ever been. Slowing us down and bloating us up to a size unprecedented in our history.
Under Dalton McGuitny, while the economy only grew by 10%, the size of government has increased by almost 80%. Are your services 80% better? Is our job market on fire? Government doesn’t create jobs. You create jobs. And we’re going to get government out of your way.
We’re going to cut the red tape, the regulations, the run around that holds business back, especially small business.
You tell me what’s a better use of your time: Selling your products? Serving your customers? Creating jobs? Expanding your markets? Or filling out government forms or waiting on the phone for an answer that might never come?
We’ll make government serve the people that pay the bills – not the other way around. We’re going to make government live within its means and here’s where we will start. Believe it or not, the government has 630 different agencies, boards and commissions. I’ve got fun game for those of you with little ones at home, like I do.
You know those magnetic letters that stick to your fridge? When you’re not stepping on them, that is? Get the kids to pick any three letters and put them together. I promise you’ll get some government agency that you have never heard of but you’re paying millions and millions a year to sustain. Then put an E in front of it, you’re up in the billions – at least when Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals are involved.
We’ll go through those agencies, boards and commissions with a very simple test. If it works, we keep it. If it’s broken, fix it. But if it can no longer provide value to the families who pay the bills, we will shut it down and use the savings to balance the budget.
My friends, that’s just the start. My cabinet will be at least 20% smaller and more focused on families’ priorities. And we will reduce the size of the bureaucracy. Spending on our priority public services of health and education will grow. It’s the right thing to do.
But we will find responsible savings of two cents on the dollar, every year on spending throughout the rest of government, each year until we balance the budget. Two percent – this is realistic and achievable. This is a recognition that government can no longer be all things to all people. This is real change, the change we need.
The second major focus of our government will be closely related to the first.
It’s pretty simple: government has to stop picking winners and losers in our economy. Government should not decide who gets to create jobs and who doesn’t.
I can’t imagine how frustrating it is for you, some of the most accomplished job creators in this country, to watch millions and billions of dollars float out the door in bailouts and backroom deals, like the one Dalton McGuinty signed with Samsung – one of the biggest, corporations in the world – that was simply handed a sweetheart $7 billion deal as one of McGuinty’s expensive, energy experiments. Sad to say, we’ve seen it time and time again under Dalton McGuinty.
We will end these secret deals. We will let the market decide who succeeds, who hires, who prospers, who innovates, who writes the next great chapter in Ontario’s once-proud history of economic leadership. Not the bureaucrats. Not the politicians. Not the ?experts. We won’t pick the winners and losers.
We will make Ontario the best place in all of Canada to build a great business and find a good job. With almost his first act as Premier, Dalton McGuinty raised taxes on business. We’ll do the opposite. We’re going to lower the business tax rate down to 10 percent, to make Ontario more attractive for investment and job creation. We’re going to get energy rates under control, to spur our economy and help us create jobs.
We’ll invest $35 billion in infrastructure – a significant portion directed to fighting gridlock and moving people and goods more quickly and efficiently. We’ll create more opportunities for talented young men and women by taking our apprenticeship system out of the 1970s, into the 21st century. We’re going to increase the number of apprentices by 200,000 positions and reduce the ratio of journeymen to apprentices to 1 to 1, putting more skilled workers on the job.
That’s how we’ll create more opportunities and more jobs, so our talented young men and women can work here at home instead of leaving to find work in other provinces. This is real change. The change we need.
Our third major focus is the one I hear about daily from families right across this province. I hear different variations of the story. But what it comes down to is this: under Dalton McGuinty, everyday life is just getting more and more unaffordable. The Hydro bills sit unopened. The vacations aren’t taken. The home renovation is postponed. Or the new house isn’t saved for in the first place.
There will be no better evidence of our province’s strength than the dream of home ownership being realized by more and more people. It’s a symbol of progress, of confidence, of the resources available so families can have a place to call their own. For many, that dream has been getting further away. For the last eight years, more new and unexpected taxes and costs have been sprung on us, taking more and more out of the family budget: the HST; the health tax; sneaky eco taxes; skyrocketing hydro bills. In fact, the McGuinty team probably has their next round of tax increases planned already, they just won’t tell you until after October 6th.
I have this to say to you here tonight. There’s no point getting mad at Dalton any more than you get mad at raccoons for knocking over the trash cans if you don’t secure the garbage. It’s the raccoon’s nature. It’s what raccoons do. They can’t help it. And of course the raccoons will do it again if they get the chance. Same with Dalton. He’ll raise your taxes. He can’t help it. It’s what he does. And he’ll do it again. Unless we take precautions.
With Dalton McGuinty the precaution is basic: you put the tax money over here – and you put Dalton over there. As far away from your money as possible. We need a new approach. We need to give hardworking Ontario families relief for a change.
Start with that Hydro bill that’s so heavy it almost requires an extra stamp. We’ll take the HST right off your hydro bills. We’ll remove that mysterious debt retirement charge that Dalton McGuinty’s trying to turn into a permanent tax grab. We’ll do the same for home heating. In this northern nation, heating our homes is not a luxury. We’ll eliminate the HST from those bills too.
And what about those smart meters Dalton McGuinty forced on us? Here’s a scheme that managed to do something amazing – break the law of supply and demand. McGuinty’s ploy raised the price of electricity for almost all Ontarians without promoting conservation. Instead of savings on their hydro bill, families are seeing long lines at the bathroom as budget-conscious families struggle to get everybody showered before 7 AM when the prices go up. But guess what? Not all families can do that. So instead, they get soaked with yet another tax grab.
This will change. We will let you decide whether your family wants to use the time-of-use pricing system. That’s the kind of change Ontario needs. We’ll go further. We’ll take 5 percent off your income taxes on your first $75,000 in income. We’ll introduce an income sharing system for Ontario families. We all know how things really work in family finances. It’s not Debbie’s budget. It’s not my budget. It’s our family budget.
Just imagine it would mean for any Ontario family to have the hundreds, even thousands, more dollars in the family budget that will come from this package of relief. For many Ontario families, this really would be a change. The change we need.
Friends, like most Ontarians, mine was a family that chose Canada. They tell me that if elected premier, I’ll be the first to trace his origins outside the British Isles.
When my family came to Canada, they knew – we were choosing the very best place to live, work and raise a family on this whole planet. It was true then. With your support: I’ll make it true again. Because Dalton McGuinty and his promise-breaking, loose-spending, tax-hiking, giveaway-dispensing, croney-favoring, showing-up-is-good-enough Liberals have failed this province for far too long.
Friends, I want to be Premier to stand up for families like my grandparents that came here to seek a better life; to ensure that my daughter Miller will have every opportunity that I’ve had – and more; to restore Ontario as the economic engine that drives this great country.
Dalton McGuinty can’t do it. Dalton McGuinty won’t do it.
I can. I will. Join with me, and families from across this great province, as we deliver the change that Ontario needs.
Thank you for coming and thank you for investing in change tonight!
Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario
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