|Kathleen Wynne Delivering Real Progress for Ontario |
Back in February when Ontario's new Premier, Kathleen Wynne, called the Legislature back with a Speech from the Throne, the prevailing wisdom among Queen's Park observers was that this was a government on its last legs.
They believed that a new leader wasn't going to be able to solve the challenges our province and our party was facing: labour discord in our schools, a horse racing industry in open revolt, and opposition parties intent on obstructing the legislature and fighting a spring election.
We proved them wrong.
Premier Wynne was sworn in and Ontario soon saw purposeful, progressive and practical solutions and a government intent on making the legislature work. Trust with teachers was restored and extra-curricular activities returned to schools. We secured a sustainable future for horse racing and the many communities who depend on it. We held jobs roundtables in communities across Ontario, talking to real people about how to grow the economy and create jobs.
As we approach the end of 2013, our economic plan is beginning to bear fruit. Jobs were up in November and economists are predicting Ontario's economy will grow by 2.6% in 2014, the fastest growth rate in 4 years. And on December 13, we announced a partnership with Cisco Canada that is the largest job creating investment in the history of Ontario's tech sector.
Our economic plan is focused on investing in people, building modern infrastructure and supporting a dynamic and innovative business environment. This has positioned our economy for healthy growth in 2014 and made measurable by helping people in their everyday lives.
Our economic plan is also revealing how different things would be under the PCs and NDP. Ontario does not need to choose between growing the economy and protecting the services on which people rely. We can and must do both. We know where slashing wildly will take us because we saw the aftermath when we took office in 2003. More than a decade of NDP-PC governments had left us with doctor shortages, overcrowded classrooms, brownouts and crumbling highways.
This year, we introduced a budget based on Liberal principles that is fair to everyone in the province. It shows a government prepared to live within its means but committed to taking care of people first. We worked with the NDP to get it passed so that we could keep doing what the people of Ontario elected us to do—build a brighter future.
We made a deliberate decision to invest in you and build on your strengths because we believe people are Ontario's number one asset. We expanded access to health care, launched the Youth Jobs Strategy to put 30,000 young people into good jobs, and are leading Canada towards an enhanced Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) so that everyone can retire comfortably.
We are reducing the cost of car insurance and strengthening consumer protections, because you deserve to keep more of the money you earn.
By building modern infrastructure—roads, transit, hospitals and schools—we are connecting communities and making sure you can get home quickly and safely at the end of the day.
And our government continues to attract businesses and support their growth. That's why we lowered taxes for 9 out 10 - 60,000 small businesses across the province.
There's a lesson in the year that was: never underestimate the power of collaboration. Premier Wynne and our whole team rejected the politics of division, focused on what is possible, played to Ontario's strengths, and never stopped working towards our goal of a prosperous and fair Ontario. The results speak for themselves.
Premier Wynne on diversity:
"When I think about celebrating diversity I want to step back and I want to say why? Why do we need to celebrate diversity? Why is it important for us to recognize our differences, recognize how diverse we are, and then celebrate that? And I believe part of the answer is that if we do not find ways to celebrate diversity then we will not live out the best of our humanity. Because our humanity is that we are all different but we share a common human and moral responsibility to each other."
Premier Wynne on restoring healthcare funding for refugees:
"The fact that we are stepping up as a government and paying for the healthcare for refugees that the federal government is stepping away from, that's part of the moral responsibility we have to each other and really that has to do with our humanity. It doesn't have to do with our ethnicity, it doesn't have to do with our language or our race or the colour of our skin, it has to do with our humanity.
Premier Wynne on the importance of ethnic media:
"You have helped us in many cases understand better what the needs of the communities are.
"You help create jobs, you connect communities, you are very very important to the fabric of this province."
Premier Wynne on governing:
"I want us to be a government that understands that we are in government; we are politicians, in order to find ways to serve each other and to make our world a fairer place. Those are lofty words, but they can be very practical things, like how do you make sure auto insurance is more fair, because it's not fair right now. And so we have to make it more fair. No matter where you live in the province we have to make it more fair."
By Hon. Michael Coteau, MPP 12/20/2013