From the NDP
NDP leader Howard Hampton slammed last Wednesday’s economic statement by Finance minister Dwight Duncan for offering no real plan to deal with Ontario’s staggering manufacturing job losses, growing poverty rates, and crumbling infrastructure.
“Today’s economic statement makes it abundantly clear that Ontario’s economy under Dalton McGuinty has gone from boom to bust,” Hampton said Wednesday. “The McGuinty Liberals had no plan during the good economic times and now they have no plan for the bad times.
“Ontario is in an economic crisis,” he warned. “We have seen more than 230,000 manufacturing jobs leave the province. The number of Ontarians living in poverty has increased to 1.8 million. And our bridges, roads, sewers, and transit systems are crumbling, needing a massive investment of up to $75 billion.
“The economic statement fails to address any of this in a meaningful way,” Hampton charged.
Hampton pointed out it is precisely during periods of economic uncertainty that government needs to step up and invest in programs and services to help Ontarians get through tough times.
He is particularly concerned about Duncan’s clear warning to hospitals, schools, and municipalities that the projected growth in transfers for 2009-10, contained in the 2008 budget, would be reduced considerably.
“Ontarians who were looking for leadership and a plan from their government are going to be sadly disappointed,” Hampton said. “The McGuinty government either doesn’t care about their plight or they have absolutely no clue what to do about it.
“It’s as if Dalton McGuinty is saying to Ontarians, ‘Good luck, you’re on your own.’”
Hampton added there are many things the McGuinty government can do—and should be doing—to stimulate the economy.
“For months, New Democrats have put forward a package of measures to sustain jobs. These are measures that have worked in other provinces, but the McGuinty government has chosen to ignore them at every turn,” he said, alluding to the reintroduction of a “Buy Ontario” government purchasing program, the creation of a refundable manufacturing investment tax credit, and the imposition of an industrial hydro rate.
“By implementing these measures, we would keep Ontarians employed and their families out of poverty,” Hampton stressed. “We could lessen the impact of the financial crisis.
“Unfortunately for Ontarians, the McGuinty government has chosen a path of excuses and inaction while driving Canada’s economic engine into the ground.”