QUEEN’S PARK – “Exasperated Ontarians have waited long enough for Dalton McGuinty to decide something for tackling his spending crisis, and with the Drummond Report in hand – and yet more signs of a worsening economy – his time is up”, PC Leader Tim Hudak said today. “Don Drummond can exit the stage now,” Hudak continued. “Dalton McGuinty commissioned his report. He bought it and we all paid for it. It’s ‘The Dalton McGuinty Report’ now.
“Taxpayers and businesses are watching – as are the investment community and the rating agencies. The Premier must release the report now and say what he’s going to do with it before confidence in our economy slides further. And if he’s not going to carry out this plan, what is his alternative?”
Hudak was joined by Ontario PC Economic Development Critic Monte McNaughton, who pointed to Friday’s new StatsCan unemployment numbers as evidence of the need for action. “Today we mark the 61st straight month in which our province has trailed the rest of Canada in job creation,” McNaughton said. “For the third straight time since the October election, Ontario has suffered net losses in full-time work – meaning we have lost 57,000 jobs since then.
“It’s another sad milestone if you’re among the 593,000 men and women who now can’t find a job in Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario.”
Hudak noted other key signs of a worsening economy – just since the creation of the commission in the 2011 budget – to illustrate the high cost of the Premier’s continued dithering:
Thursday’s Conference Board report showing Ontario’s growth slumping to 1.9 per cent, meaning the Liberals will miss their 2017 balanced budget target by four years;
Last week’s StatsCan report showing Ontario trailed Canada in average weekly earnings growth;
Another spike in Ontario’s deficit to $16 billion from $15 billion – right after the election;
December’s threatened credit downgrade for Ontario from Moody’s Investor Services.
“I urge Dalton McGuinty to act on policy ideas that the Ontario PC Caucus has advocated for months in the spirit of collaboration, to rein in the size and cost of government – whether or not they are echoed in his report,” Hudak said.
These include a mandatory public sector wage freeze, competition for public services delivery to generate savings and service improvements, and reform to the province’s public sector arbitration system – which awards settlements that local governments and taxpayers simply can’t afford, he added. “Dalton McGuinty must now act to find new ways to make government work for the people who pay the bills – so we can direct savings to vital services such as health care and education. Unless ‘buyer’s remorse’ over the McGuinty Report has taken hold in the Premier’s Office – as we suspect.”