(Queen’s Park) – GPO Leader Mike Schreiner issued the following statement on today’s Throne Speech:
“The people of Ontario want our minority government to work. Today’s Throne Speech makes an important effort to reach out to the opposition parties.
Yet, it is disappointing that the Throne Speech made no mention of strengthening democracy by ending the abuse of prorogation. Prorogation should only be used for routine Legislative business, not to help parties retain power. People expect better from our elected officials – cooperation in the public interest requires ending the use of prorogation for politically self-interested reasons.
A strong democracy also means straight talk about issues. Gridlock costs our economy and health. We agree with the Premier that Ontario needs infrastructure investments to improve transportation, but we also challenge the Premier to clearly commit to the need for dedicated revenue to fund public transit.
It’s about time we also had a frank conversation about education. Moving to one public school board will save over a billion dollars each year–savings that should be invested in our schools, teachers and especially our kids.
Finally, the Throne Speech misses a historic opportunity to chart a new course for Ontario’s economy. Ontario must create jobs for the twenty-first century to replace the 300,000 manufacturing jobs lost in the last decade. Ontario needs to invest in the future, not the past, by supporting clean tech entrepreneurs with a green tax credit to support innovation, productivity and jobs. And we need training programs and apprenticeship reform to help youth access jobs in the growing clean tech economy. The clean tech sector will enrich our economy and improve our environment.
The Green Party will push the government to deliver on our long standing call to raise the Employer Health Tax exemption to make it easier for entrepreneurs and small businesses to create local jobs. We will work with the government to implement our plans to reduce poverty and pollution, and to close the loopholes in legislation that fail to protect local food and clean water.
It’s good that Premier Wynne has set an example by offering to cooperate with the opposition parties, and I encourage the other parties to put Ontario first by making minority government work. It’s critical that we focus on plans that are financially responsible, socially just and environmentally sustainable.”