The gloves come off

News Nov 12, 2009 Ancaster News

It’s still almost two years away, but the countdown is on to the October 2011 provincial election — and by the level of vitriol and party rhetoric already flying around, voters are in for an interesting ride.

After six years of costly Liberal rule under Dalton McGuinty, Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak is stumping on the message that his party will return the province to the good ol' days of reduced red tape, a business- friendly government and its status as a job-rich powerhouse, thanks to projects such as the construction of the Mid-Peninsula transportation corridor and the development of Hamilton's airport.

At the centre of the party leader's platform is the contentious issue of the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax), which he has — repeatedly (along with NDP leader Andrea Horwath) — criticized and vowed to fight.

As Hudak spread the PC message in the Hamilton area last week, local Liberal MPP Ted McMeekin wasted no time in firing back.

He took Hudak to task on all fronts, referring to the Tory leader as a mini-Mike Harris and urging constituents to be skeptical when it comes to promises about fighting the HST and repealing Bill 119, a Liberal initiative introduced to reform the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

Consequences

Accusing Hudak of "fear-mongering" when it comes to the HST, McMeekin went on to warn of the consequences of "reckless red-tape cutting" and "slash and burn tactics" that led to the Walkerton disaster under the Mike Harris Tories.

With this type of exchange slated to continue over the next 23 months, voters are going to need to dig deep to see past the name-calling, the big promises and the personal aspersions to get some real answers.

The real issues voters need to focus on include:

• Ontario's unemployment rate, according to the most recent Labour Force Survey, reached 8.6 per cent in October, up 2.3 per cent (representing 400,000 jobs lost) over last year.

• Food bank use is up, donations are down, leaving the supply on many agencies' shelves precariously low.

• The provincial deficit has grown to $25 billion

• Very real concerns are being voiced by agricultural industry leaders about the need for support and legislation to plan for the future of Ontario's farmers.

• Despite a pledge to not raise taxes, the McGuinty government is responsible for the health tax -one of the largest single tax hikes in provincial history. Now, the government will legislate a new tax –the HST –which will result in higher taxes on some products and services.

• Ontario has long been considered Canada's economic engine. Now it wears a new label: "have-not province." Ontario now receives federal equalization payments.

• Ontario's GDP, and government revenues, are now the size they were in 2005. It will be at least 2011 before Ontario's economy gets back to where it was in 2008.

Even as forecasts waver on predicting the end of the economic recession that has gripped the entire globe over the past year, it is evident that the province remains in a crisis situation on many fronts.

To be fair, the McGuinty government didn’t create the recession, and has navigated through this crisis as well as can be expected from any government.

The government has made significant investments in health care, education and infrastructure.

It’s easy to throw stones at glass houses when in opposition. Instead of name-calling and fear-mongering, voters deserve real answers from party representatives on the issues that really matter.

There is too much at stake for Ontario families to do anything less.

The gloves come off

News Nov 12, 2009 Ancaster News

It’s still almost two years away, but the countdown is on to the October 2011 provincial election — and by the level of vitriol and party rhetoric already flying around, voters are in for an interesting ride.

After six years of costly Liberal rule under Dalton McGuinty, Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak is stumping on the message that his party will return the province to the good ol' days of reduced red tape, a business- friendly government and its status as a job-rich powerhouse, thanks to projects such as the construction of the Mid-Peninsula transportation corridor and the development of Hamilton's airport.

At the centre of the party leader's platform is the contentious issue of the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax), which he has — repeatedly (along with NDP leader Andrea Horwath) — criticized and vowed to fight.

As Hudak spread the PC message in the Hamilton area last week, local Liberal MPP Ted McMeekin wasted no time in firing back.

He took Hudak to task on all fronts, referring to the Tory leader as a mini-Mike Harris and urging constituents to be skeptical when it comes to promises about fighting the HST and repealing Bill 119, a Liberal initiative introduced to reform the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

Consequences

Accusing Hudak of "fear-mongering" when it comes to the HST, McMeekin went on to warn of the consequences of "reckless red-tape cutting" and "slash and burn tactics" that led to the Walkerton disaster under the Mike Harris Tories.

With this type of exchange slated to continue over the next 23 months, voters are going to need to dig deep to see past the name-calling, the big promises and the personal aspersions to get some real answers.

The real issues voters need to focus on include:

• Ontario's unemployment rate, according to the most recent Labour Force Survey, reached 8.6 per cent in October, up 2.3 per cent (representing 400,000 jobs lost) over last year.

• Food bank use is up, donations are down, leaving the supply on many agencies' shelves precariously low.

• The provincial deficit has grown to $25 billion

• Very real concerns are being voiced by agricultural industry leaders about the need for support and legislation to plan for the future of Ontario's farmers.

• Despite a pledge to not raise taxes, the McGuinty government is responsible for the health tax -one of the largest single tax hikes in provincial history. Now, the government will legislate a new tax –the HST –which will result in higher taxes on some products and services.

• Ontario has long been considered Canada's economic engine. Now it wears a new label: "have-not province." Ontario now receives federal equalization payments.

• Ontario's GDP, and government revenues, are now the size they were in 2005. It will be at least 2011 before Ontario's economy gets back to where it was in 2008.

Even as forecasts waver on predicting the end of the economic recession that has gripped the entire globe over the past year, it is evident that the province remains in a crisis situation on many fronts.

To be fair, the McGuinty government didn’t create the recession, and has navigated through this crisis as well as can be expected from any government.

The government has made significant investments in health care, education and infrastructure.

It’s easy to throw stones at glass houses when in opposition. Instead of name-calling and fear-mongering, voters deserve real answers from party representatives on the issues that really matter.

There is too much at stake for Ontario families to do anything less.

The gloves come off

News Nov 12, 2009 Ancaster News

It’s still almost two years away, but the countdown is on to the October 2011 provincial election — and by the level of vitriol and party rhetoric already flying around, voters are in for an interesting ride.

After six years of costly Liberal rule under Dalton McGuinty, Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak is stumping on the message that his party will return the province to the good ol' days of reduced red tape, a business- friendly government and its status as a job-rich powerhouse, thanks to projects such as the construction of the Mid-Peninsula transportation corridor and the development of Hamilton's airport.

At the centre of the party leader's platform is the contentious issue of the HST (Harmonized Sales Tax), which he has — repeatedly (along with NDP leader Andrea Horwath) — criticized and vowed to fight.

As Hudak spread the PC message in the Hamilton area last week, local Liberal MPP Ted McMeekin wasted no time in firing back.

He took Hudak to task on all fronts, referring to the Tory leader as a mini-Mike Harris and urging constituents to be skeptical when it comes to promises about fighting the HST and repealing Bill 119, a Liberal initiative introduced to reform the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

Consequences

Accusing Hudak of "fear-mongering" when it comes to the HST, McMeekin went on to warn of the consequences of "reckless red-tape cutting" and "slash and burn tactics" that led to the Walkerton disaster under the Mike Harris Tories.

With this type of exchange slated to continue over the next 23 months, voters are going to need to dig deep to see past the name-calling, the big promises and the personal aspersions to get some real answers.

The real issues voters need to focus on include:

• Ontario's unemployment rate, according to the most recent Labour Force Survey, reached 8.6 per cent in October, up 2.3 per cent (representing 400,000 jobs lost) over last year.

• Food bank use is up, donations are down, leaving the supply on many agencies' shelves precariously low.

• The provincial deficit has grown to $25 billion

• Very real concerns are being voiced by agricultural industry leaders about the need for support and legislation to plan for the future of Ontario's farmers.

• Despite a pledge to not raise taxes, the McGuinty government is responsible for the health tax -one of the largest single tax hikes in provincial history. Now, the government will legislate a new tax –the HST –which will result in higher taxes on some products and services.

• Ontario has long been considered Canada's economic engine. Now it wears a new label: "have-not province." Ontario now receives federal equalization payments.

• Ontario's GDP, and government revenues, are now the size they were in 2005. It will be at least 2011 before Ontario's economy gets back to where it was in 2008.

Even as forecasts waver on predicting the end of the economic recession that has gripped the entire globe over the past year, it is evident that the province remains in a crisis situation on many fronts.

To be fair, the McGuinty government didn’t create the recession, and has navigated through this crisis as well as can be expected from any government.

The government has made significant investments in health care, education and infrastructure.

It’s easy to throw stones at glass houses when in opposition. Instead of name-calling and fear-mongering, voters deserve real answers from party representatives on the issues that really matter.

There is too much at stake for Ontario families to do anything less.