FORT MCMURRAY – “A more prosperous Ontario lies ahead, but only if we broaden our vision and seek to turn national strategic advantages like Alberta’s oil sands into Ontario’s”, according to Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak. “Ontario has many assets that will allow us to play a leading role in developing the oil sands including Ontario steel and engineering, refineries in Sarnia, technology in Waterloo, the financial services sector in Toronto and a skilled and entrepreneurial workforce,” continued Hudak. “As part of an integrated plan to restart economic growth in our province, we have an opportunity today to turn Alberta’s strategic advantage into Ontario’s and help create jobs.”
Hudak made the comments following a tour of the oil sands in Fort McMurray to see firsthand how Ontario technology and expertise are being put to work. A report by the Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) found that Ontario is the biggest beneficiary of oil sands development and jobs outside Alberta.
“My priority is growing Ontario’s economy and creating jobs. Every decision we make must go through that lens,” Hudak added. “Instead of running down the oil sands, we owe it to the half a million Ontarians who are out of work right now to ask how can Ontario best leverage the potential of the oil sands to create jobs at home.”
Hudak said that while the government continues to head down the wrong path to a $30-billion deficit and has sacrificed Ontario’s historic advantages of low energy rates, a competitive tax regime, and a low regulatory burden, we cannot afford to shut our doors and rule out new growth opportunities beyond our borders.
“In the midst of a jobs and debt crisis, I am not content to say two per cent economic growth is the best we can hope for, and be content to shut our doors and head down the same failing path that has cost us 300,000 manufacturing jobs. If there is a demand for Ontario’s expertise and ingenuity, we need to help get it to market,” Hudak added.
According to the Oil Sands Developers Group, the oil sands will generate one million person-years of employment for Ontario, which is enough to employ over 30,000 Ontario residents for 30 years and will contribute $102 billion to Ontario’s gross domestic product. Furthermore, every dollar spent in the oil sands leads to an economic benefit of as much as 31 cents in Ontario.