Jim McDonell is the Member of Provincial Parliament for the riding of Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry. Mr. McDonell is currently the Ontario PC Critic for Consumer Services.
Spring Session Ends in a Flurry of Activity
MPP - Stormont, Dundas, South Glengarry
The spring session finished with most of the activity around the budget and the last minute negotiations between the NDP and the Liberals. I was surprised with the Premier’s expectation that the Standing Committee on Finance would pass the budget without any significant amendments, as the NDP had stated from the start that they would be seeking changes.
Cornwall - July 16, 2012 - The spring session finished with most of the activity around the budget and the last minute negotiations between the NDP and the Liberals. I was surprised with the Premier’s expectation that the Standing Committee on Finance would pass the budget without any significant amendments, as the NDP had stated from the start that they would be seeking changes. The threat of an election was obviously only that, as the huge drop in their support as indicated in polls revealed dissatisfaction with the Ontario public as well as with the international credit rating agencies that downgraded Ontario’s credit rating after reviewing the budget.
Through the committee process on the budget, our PC party, with the help of the NDP members, was able to obtain some changes in the budget and the house proceedings. For example, the committee investigating the ORNGE Air Ambulance scandal will now meet for four sessions during the summer, allowing key witnesses to be questioned about the hundreds of millions of dollars that need to be accounted for. Additional changes will also allow for the review of additional government agencies, increasing transparency and oversight, with the goal to stop such abuses of public funds as has happened at ORNGE and E-Health.
Over the past few weeks, our party issued white papers on energy and labour, reflecting weeks of public consultation and summarizing potential policy direction for the party. Throughout the remainder of the year, additional white papers will be issued on several topics, including education and healthcare, and are intended to initiate further discussion in areas that are crucial to Ontario’s future. The energy paper lays out policies that will allow for responsible and economic provisioning of electricity and change the direction that has made Ontario’s power the most expensive in North America. Experts agree that our high, uncompetitive cost of electricity has contributed to the loss of over 300,000 manufacturing jobs over the past 8 years. We are proposing policies that will promote importing of cheap green hydro power from our neighbours and making wind and solar power compete with our traditional water and nuclear power. Our labour paper recommends policy changes that will keep us competitive with our western trading partners and create a pro-jobs atmosphere. We propose ending the closed tendering system that only allows unionized contractors to bid on provincial and municipal contracts, as studies show that the existing system increases costs by up to 40 percent. We will also restore the principle of a secret ballot in all certification votes in Ontario and require unions to provide full and transparent disclosure of their revenues and how they spend them. These and other changes are required to stop the mass exodus of jobs to our provincial and southern neighbours.
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