Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty addresses Liberal Delegates

Dalton McGuinty

Dalton McGuinty

OTTAWA – Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty addressed the delegates at the Liberal Party delegates at the party’s convention in Ottawa. Here is the text of the Premier’s remarks.

Thank you my friends.

Merci mes amis. Merci d’être des nôtres en cette fin de semaine. Merci d’être ici pour notre parti et notre province.

Thanks for being here this weekend for our party and our province.

And, by the way, thanks for building this beautiful convention centre for the people of Ottawa. We love it.

I want to give credit where credit is due on five separate counts:

1. To Yasir Naqvi and our hard-working party executive …

2. To the finest group of MPPs ever to grace an Ontario government caucus …

3. To Steven Del Duca and his team for their victory …

4. To Eric Davis and his team for their superb effort, and …

5. And, most importantly, to you, Ontario Liberal Party members, …

The bedrock of our party and the foundation on which we are building a stronger and more caring Ontario.

To all of you, I say: Thank you, thank you and thank you.

Welcome to my hometown.

This is where Terri and I were raised and where we raised our children. A place where we have wonderful memories.

Just last weekend, we celebrated our daughter, Carleen’s wedding. She married a great guy from a huge extended family. The way I see it, I haven’t lost a daughter…
I’ve gained 47 votes.

You know, my most precious memory of Carleen is when I was 26 years old … and she was two minutes. She had just been born. The nurse quickly completed the usual tests, she bundled up Carleen snugly in a little pink blanket.

She looked at me … and said: “Do you want to hold her?”

Boy, did I want to hold her. So I held her. She didn’t squirm. She didn’t cry. She was perfect. She wasn’t interested in the outside world. She wasn’t interested in anyone else. She was mine. And she was perfect.

Looking back now, I never realized how complicated life would become for our family. Not because I got into politics. But just because life gets complicated and challenging for all of us when we decide to raise a family. At the time, holding my first baby in my arms, I couldn’t see all that. All I could do was promise to do my best for her.

And I hoped everything would work out okay for her …

And that she would be happy. Over the next four years, my daughter was joined by our three sons. And every time I held a new baby son, I made the same quiet promise to him. And I had the same secret hopes.

You know, Terri takes great pride in her responsibilities as a teacher, as do I. I couldn’t feel more honoured serving Ontarians as Premier. But in the end …it all comes down to how the family is doing. Whether everybody is okay and whether they’re making their way in life. Whether they’re happy. All of us … we get ahead in life. We fend for our families.

Through a combination of hope, opportunity and hard work.

Nous espérons le meilleur…

Nous sommes à l’affût de possibilités…

Et nous travaillons aussi dur que possible pour que nos rêves, et que les rêves de nos enfants, deviennent réalité.

We hope for the best, we look for opportunities and and we work as hard as we can to make our dreams, and our kids’ dreams, come

The way I see it while families can work hard on their own they can’t create opportunity on their own. We have to build that, together.

For me, that’s what our party and our politics are all about. It’s the reason I became the proud President of the “Ottawa South Provincial Liberal Association.” It’s the reason I became the MPP for Ottawa South and it’s the reason I ran for the leadership of our party. A party which, let’s face it, had only won one election in 50 years. But, it was a party we knew had great promise.

So, together, we worked hard to make Ontario Liberals confident and successful. And we fought side by side. In win after win after win. And we did all this so we could work hard to make Ontario families hopeful about their future.

A bright future built on the opportunity we create together with great schools, quality healthcare and a strong economy.

For Ontario families to succeed …

For Ontario to succeed …

We need hope, we need opportunity and we need hard work. Today, I want to talk about the hard work we’ve invested in our party and in our province. How we’re creating opportunity and why it gives us and all Ontarians, reason to be hopeful.

Let’s remember how it started. Because it was bleak. The Ontario PC government failed Ontario families. They failed to deliver for Ontario families. Families count on government to get the big things right. Families count on good schools.

But under the PCs class sizes ballooned, academic performance suffered, and strikes were commonplace. Families count on quality health care but the PCs closed hospitals,
fired nurses And gave us the longest wait times in Canada.

Families count on clean air and safe drinking water but there were too many smog days and parents couldn’t always trust the water coming out of the tap.

We had a different plan. The Ontario Liberal Plan was to get the big things right. We got to work on education, we built 570 new schools. We lowered class sizes and hired 13,630 more teachers and 11,745 more educational support workers.

We made Ontario the first place in North America to offer full-day kindergarten. And, our proudest achievement, We raised test scores by 16 points and graduation rates by 14 points. And we did that by working with the best teachers anywhere – Ontario teachers.

And now, we’re recognized as having the best schools in the English-speaking world. We got to work on health care. We built 23 new hospitals. We hired 15,000 more nurses and 3,400 new doctors. We created 200 family health teams and 26 nurse practitioner clinics. 2.1 million more Ontarians have a family doctor. And now we’re recognized as having the shortest wait times in Canada.

We got to work building a clean, reliable electricity system. Coal generation is down by 90% and smog days are down by 50%. We’re now recognized as having the fastest growing clean energy industry in North America with over 20,000 jobs so far.

And remember how we broke temperature records this summer? It was our hottest summer ever! And yet throughout, families and businesses could count on reliable electricity – because of the work we’ve done together.

Nous devons également bâtir une économie plus forte.
Parce que des familles comptent sur les emplois qui découlent de la croissance économique.
Et la croissance est plus importante quand un gouvernement prend des décisions avisées sur le plan financier.
We also got to work building a stronger economy. Because families count on jobs that come from economic growth. And growth is stronger when government get its finances right.

We began by passing a law that makes it impossible to do what the PCs did. They hid a deficit. That can never happen again. We cleaned up the PC deficit and balanced our budget three years in a row.

Then the recession came. It was the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression. We decided to help Ontarians get through it. Because that was the right thing to do. We need to be there for each other. So, together, we built infrastructure like roads, schools, hospitals and public transit. That kept hundreds of thousands of Ontarians working.

We supported the auto sector. That saved 485,000 jobs. Our Second Career program retrained 55,000 people so they could get new jobs. The PCs were dead set against what we did to help families. They would have cut those families loose. The NDP opposed our Second Career Program. They wanted to raise taxes on businesses that create jobs. That would have hurt families, too.

Ontarians agreed with our approach.

They supported that approach by returning us to government last year. And now, we are acting responsibly. We’re eliminating the deficit.

We all understand:

You can’t have a strong economy if you keep running deficits. We need to make sure Ontario businesses have the confidence to keep investing, growing and creating jobs. We need the world to see Ontario as a strong, secure place to invest. Eliminating the deficit and balancing the books is a lot more than an accounting exercise.

It’s about putting the economy on the path to stronger growth. Growth that creates more jobs and supports the public services that families count on. Businesses, investors and families want to know we have a plan. And that we’ll stick to it. And that’s what we’ll do.

One of the things you should know is that since the recession. Under the steady hand of Dwight Duncan we beat our fiscal targets three years in a row. Our plan will eliminate the deficit in five years.

You know, more than half the money we spend in government goes into wages. So Ontarians reasonably expect that, to balance the budget. We are going to do something about those costs. Our choice is to freeze wages. That’s an Ontario Liberal choice because it protects public services.

We believe when we’re running a 13 billion dollar deficit, when the economy is growing slowly, when unemployment is still pretty high and it’s not easy to get a job out there, we believe that the right thing to do is freeze public sector wages. So we can protect public sector jobs for our workers and protect public services for all our families.

And when it comes to the wage freeze, we’re all in this together. That’s fair. So, MPP pay is frozen for five years. For OPS managers – it’s three years under our proposed law. And for teachers and others it will be two years. On top of that, we’ve put a permanent cap on executive pay of $418,000. Because it’s about public service.

You know, many of our public servants support our plan. Let me tell you why. They know about the recession and the deficit. They know how hard the private sector was hit and I am talking about the for-profit and the not-for-profit sectors.

They have seen their friends and neighbours affected by all this. They know that when times were good, when we could afford to, we gave them raises. As they worked hard … and we worked together … to rebuild public services.

Our public servants understand:

It is only fair that all of us in the public sector be part of the solution. That’s why 55,000 Ontario teachers agreed to a pay freeze. So did nearly 12,000 college professors. We just signed a tentative deal that freezes wages for 11,000 managers and executives. and Ontario doctors are back at the table working on solutions.

The opposition would make very different choices. The PCs would refuse to negotiate anything. They would break collective agreements. They would fire public servants. They would cut services.

The NDP, well, they’re a bit different. They say a whole lot about what we shouldn’t do. But they won’t say clearly what they would do.

Well, we know. They would give our public servants a pay hike. You and I know there are only two ways to pay for that. They would either cut services, like the NDP did in Saskatchewan or they’d raise the HST, like the NDP just did in Nova Scotia.

La position des Libéraux de l’Ontario est claire.

Nous sommes fidèles à nos valeurs…

Et fidèles aux Ontariennes et aux Ontariens.

Nous prenons les bonnes décisions.

Nous sommes les seuls à avoir un plan capable d’équilibrer le budget tout en protégeant la santé et l’éducation. //

Nous avons entrepris d’équilibrer le budget, et nous voyons des défis se profiler à l’horizon.

It’s clear where Ontario Liberals stand. We’re the only party with a plan to balance the budget while protecting health care and education. As we balance the budget, we see the challenges ahead.

We see the opportunities. The new economy demands more skills, more education and more innovation. Well, you and I have been preparing Ontarians for just that.

We opened up 150,000 more spaces in our colleges and universities, we doubled our apprenticeship opportunities and we created our new, 30% off tuition grant. Every young person from every family can be successful in the new economy.

You know, postsecondary enrolment is way up in Ontario. University enrollment is up an amazing 26%. That’s double the national average.

Ontario families know:

A good education helps land a good job. And since the recession, Ontario has created 325,000 new, full-time jobs. That’s 59,000 more than we lost. And it represents 45% of all the new jobs created in Canada.

So, we’re on the right track. The other parties are working pretty hard to take us off track.

Let me be specific, here:

We’ve got a bill before the House to create a $1,500 home renovation tax credit for seniors. This is a great way to make seniors safe in their homes. It creates jobs for the people who do this work and it saves us healthcare costs. It’s less expensive to provide care at home than in long-term care or a hospital. But the opposition keeps blocking this bill.

Just as they blocked our bill to create permanent funds for job creation in Eastern and Southwestern Ontario. And there’s a huge jobs opportunity in Northern Ontario in the Ring of Fire. We keep pushing this forward and the Opposition keeps trying to slow it down.

The pattern here is pretty clear:

We keep putting forward positive, new ideas. The Opposition keeps slowing progress to a crawl. This week, their extreme partisanship took a more serious turn.

They brought the Legislature to a halt. That’s not what Ontarians want.

They have been clear:

They want us to find a way to keep working always in their best interests. While strong, partisan debate is part of a healthy democracy, the mean-spirited, groundless accusations being made against Minister Bentley are not.

Chris Bentley is one of the finest, most decent and most honourable colleagues I have ever had the honour to work with. He is a man of great integrity. Every day, he works hard to do the right thing for Ontarians. What the Opposition is trying to do to Minister Bentley dishonours them, it dishonours our Legislature. A place where we are all called upon to be “Honourable Members”.

As Honourable Members, our job is to do the work of the people. For nine years, that’s what we’ve done as the government. We haven’t done everything perfectly. You know what the issues have been. In a democracy, it’s right for people to ask questions. No one can question that we give our best.

We work hard every day. We listen. We learn. We keep moving forward. And by any measure, we are making real progress.
Les Libéraux de l’Ontario n’ont pas peur de travailler dur.
Nous tirons notre inspiration des familles ontariennes.
Dans la vie, les efforts ne portent pas forcément leurs fruits immédiatement.
Pourtant, vous poursuivez ces efforts.
Parce qu’ils sont synonymes d’un avenir plus radieux, pour vous et pour vos enfants.
Ontario Liberals aren’t afraid of hard work. We take our cue from Ontario families. Not all the work we do in life is immediately rewarding. But you do the work anyway. Because it means a better future for you and your kids.

Well, that’s what we do in government. It’s not all easy work. Some of it is very hard work and not immediately rewarding.

Creating the new “Ontario Health Premium” was hard politics for us at the time. But today, it’s helping us support some pretty big demands on our health care system as Ontarians get older. So we’ll be ready to care for them.

Getting the “HST” in place wasn’t easy politics. But in today’s global economy, it’s become very clear:

When it makes sense to do so, we need to make sure our businesses are on a level playing field with the competition. So they can grow and create jobs. That’s what the HST has done.

It has leveled the playing field and made our economy stronger and that brings me to the hard politics we’re all experiencing as we move to freeze public sector wages.

This has got some people upset. I can understand that. We’ve got to balance the budget so we can all have a better future.

I want to be clear on this point. This isn’t a political tactic. We’re doing this because we know it’s the right thing to do. It’s our job to do it.

Emerson tells us: Moral force gives us fearlessness and tranquility.

So, let’s be fearless as we move forward. Calm and respectful towards all.

My friends, we have come a long way together. We’ve done a lot of hard work, created a lot of hope for families, built a lot of opportunity.

Along the way we built a strong, successful party. We’ve been through tough times before. This is one more. Now is not the time for stopping. Now is the time to keep fighting for Ontario Liberal values.

There’s an uncertain world out there. We need to take steps, here at home, to keep growing stronger. We’ll take those steps, together. We’re determined. We’re fair. We’re Ontario Liberals.

We’ll protect our public services. We’ll build a stronger economy. We’ll keep building a caring and compassionate society for our children and grandchildren. And we’ll do this in Ontario, the greatest province in the best country in the world.

Thank you.

Dalton McGuinty
Premier of Ontario
Leader of the Liberal Party of Ontario

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