ONTARIO VOTES 2007: Canadian Plastics talks to the Ontario PC Party
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Canadian Plastics asked a series of questions of the leading candidates for premiership in the upcoming Ontario pro...
Canadian Plastics asked a series of questions of the leading candidates for premiership in the upcoming Ontario provincial general election, to be held on Oct. 10. Below is the response of John Tory, leader of the Ontario PC Party.
If elected to the position of Premier, what do you hope to do for the manufacturing sector? What, in your view, are the major issues facing the manufacturing sector in Ontario today?
Our manufacturing sector has been hit by a perfect storm over the past few years, with the steady climb of the Canadian dollar, rising interest rates, increased foreign competition and now the looming fear of a U.S. recession.
If given the responsibility of government on October 10th, our number one priority will be restoring the economic fundamentals of our province. What our province needs is a steady hand and strong leadership, something thats been sorely lacking for the last four years.
The manufacturing sector in Ontario is operating under enormous pressures, ranging from the strength of the Canadian dollar to foreign competition. What local strategies would you propose to enhance the skills and competitiveness of the manufacturing industries in Ontario?
After a long career in business, John Tory understands how vital a skilled workforce is to an organizations success. A John Tory PC Government will promote training and retraining opportunities to ensure a competitive workforce.
Other measures in our platform to enhance competitiveness include promoting trade and knocking down barriers to free trade within Canada, reducing the regulatory burden and unnecessary red tape, eliminating the capital tax and making significant new investments in transportation infrastructure.
What is your vision for the manufacturing sector in Ontario? Please elaborate on your answer.
Our vision for the manufacturing sector corresponds with our vision for the province as a wholeto be a leader once again. We will not be content to stand by as our fortunes decline. Ontarios historic successes did not happen automatically or by accident. The reason Ontario was a leader was because Ontario had leaders. We will champion the manufacturing sector and the province as a whole, and use all resources at our disposal in government to give the industry a helping hand as it struggles with some very difficult economic circumstances.
How familiar are you with the plastics industries in Ontario, or the manufacturing sector at large? What is your knowledge of the issues surrounding these industries?
John Tory and members of his team have traveled around the province and met with many workers and executives from the manufacturing sector. We have been able to develop a sound appreciation of the scope of your industry, with over 2,000 companies and roughly 90,000 people working in the various plastics industries. We respect the key role plastics play in the manufacturing supply chain, especially as a supplier to the automotive, construction and consumer products industries.
The mold, tool and die industry, particularly in areas like Windsor, seems to be fighting an uphill battle. There have been several mold shop closures in the last two years, which have a negative impact on the industry and the local economy. Please briefly explain how an Ontario government lead by you would help this embattled sector.
Our plan to build a more prosperous Ontario will address both sides of the coin providing the strong business fundamentals that make investors choose our province, and investing in the cultural, educational, health care and environmental benefits that make people choose Ontario as their home.
We will eliminate the job-killing capital tax, promote training and retraining opportunities to ensure a competitive workforce, streamline regulatory burdens wherever possible, knock down inter-provincial trade barriers and invest in the transportation and border infrastructure that is vital to the health of our manufacturing sector.
The current government has offered grants and funding to Ontario companies, especially in the area of technological innovation and R&D. What kind of funding would you devote to the plastics industries?
Funding for research and technological innovation is very important and will be continued under a John Tory PC Government. The plastics industry can count on my strong support and partnership attracting and retaining the best workers and technology to Ontario.
Union leaders and manufacturing workers have expressed frustration over the number of job losses in the sector. As a leader, what kind of strategy will you employ to curb or significantly reduce the number of lost jobs in this sector?
A John Tory PC Government will reduce the regulatory burden on business and industry, stimulate investment in machinery and equipment, eliminate the job killing capital tax and, at the same time, invest in re-training programs for individuals that have lost their jobs. With strong leadership and proactive measures to restore the economic fundamentals of Ontario we will help the manufacturing industry and its workers cope with the incredible challenges they currently face.
Anti-plastic sentiment has reached a fever pitch recently, and one provincial leader in Manitoba has even suggested a province-wide ban on plastic bags in the province. Would you support similar anti-plastic measures in Ontario? Why or why not?
A John Tory PC Government will engage businesses, both small and large to do everything we can to reduce the amount of waste in our landfill. In our platform we commit to creating an integrated waste strategy in conjunction with businesses, municipalities, and environmental groups. By creating a plan and utilizing the innovations of the private sector we can make real progress for our environment without unfairly singling out a particular industry or sector of our economy.
In the Canadian plastics industry, trade is heavily skewed toward the United States, which accounted for 91 percent of exports and 75 percent of imports in 2006. What kind of strategy would you employ help to help Canadian firms maintain, and even improve, this trade relationship?
A John Tory PC Government will improve our border crossings to ensure goods flow more efficiently across the border to the United States. The United States is our most important trade partner and ensuring the smooth flow of goods and positive trade relations is absolutely essential.
We will also seek to join the inter-provincial free trade agreement between British Columbia and Alberta, and explore a similar arrangement with Quebec. Ontario must lead the national charge for the reduction of inter-provincial trade barriers across Canada.
Bottom line: why should members of the plastics industry consider giving you their vote?
In the last four years, Ontario has lacked leadership. When theres no leadership, you get bad management. And when theres bad management, you get bad outcomes for ordinary people.
But there is hope. There is a difference. And there is a clear choice.
We encourage you to take the time to review our complete platform, For a Better Ontario: Leadership Matters,” which can be found at www.leadershipmatters.ca. Leadership Matters is not just an election platform, it is a plan for government. Our plan was developed after more than two years of consultations with members of our Party and other Ontarians from across the province and it provides greater details about our commitments than we are able to provide in this forum.