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Conservatives lay out jobs creation plan for Ontario

By Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

PC Leader Tim Hudak. (Antonella Artuso/Toronto Sun)

PC Leader Tim Hudak. (Antonella Artuso/Toronto Sun)

TORONTO - 

Lower business taxes, provide cheaper hydro and enhance trades training. Then get rid of government red tape and red ink.

That’s the formula needed to create one million new Ontario jobs during eight years, according to Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak.

“I think this is a doable target but you can’t do it unless you put these policies into place to make Ontario more friendly for investment,” Hudak said Monday.

The PC leader promised to put forward a private member’s bill which he said would address many of the concerns of business leaders who want to invest in Ontario but are reluctant to do so in the current economic environment.

His Millions Job Act would reduce government spending, rein in hydro bills and lower the business tax rate from 11.5% to 10%.

Similar policies implemented by former premier Mike Harris’s government sparked the creation of 1.1 million jobs, he said.

The province lost 39,000 jobs in December, reversing all job growth over the year, according to Statistics Canada.

At the same time, 13,000 workers were added to the public sector payroll.

The business community has been put off by the high level of government debt and deficit amassed by the Liberals in Ontario, Hudak said.

There are concerns that have prompted corporate bosses to sit on cash instead of using it to expand and create jobs, added Hudak, who insisted his ideas have stimulated employment opportunities in other jurisdictions.

“I just believe that if you lower taxes in our province, then businesses are going to invest. They’ll put out a new project, they’ll add a new machine, they’re going to hire more men and women,” he said.

The PCs did not provide a copy of the actual private member’s bill.

Such legislation would require the very unlikely support of either the New Democrats or Liberals to become law.

Training, Colleges and Universities Minister Brad Duguid said the PCs would kill jobs and lower wages through “right to work” policies.

The Conservative proposals to cut government spending would lead to 12,000 layoffs in education and health care, he said.

“All of this is to be sacrificed at the alter of deficit reduction,” Duguid said. “Tim Hudak’s Conservatives believe nothing matters as much as the provincial deficit by massive spending cuts. Liberals know that the economy doesn’t need cuts. It needs help.”

Despite December’s Grinch-like labour force numbers, Duguid said the province has created hundreds of thousands of jobs since the recession of 2008-09.


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