PC Leader Tim Hudak addressed a crowd of roughly 60 at a town hall meeting in Essex on Thursday evening. Speaking about a need to reform welfare, taxation in Ontario, the benefits of so called “right to work” legislation and as expected what he sees as the negatives of the Liberal party, Hudak attempted to sway listeners towards his plan to revamp the Ontario economy.
Hudak’s plan to turn the economy around involves lowering taxes to entice businesses to invest, reducing regulations for businesses, a new approach on energy, and the need to bring what he sees as 1940s labour laws into the 21st century.
OurWindsor.ca had the opportunity to interview Mr. Hudak in an exclusive interview following the presentation and spoke one-on-one with the PC Leader.
Mr. Hudak, an ardent supporter of right to work legislation, explained that he is concerned that since such legislation has already been introduced in Michigan, Indiana, the UK, most of Europe, Australia, and New Zealand that “we’re competing for jobs…we’re losing jobs and I would rather see Ontario growing jobs than seeing them go across the Ambassador Bridge to Michigan.”
Hudak’s plan to reform Ontario would see students learning financial literacy in high school as part of the basic curriculum because he believes that in the 21st century, understanding the way the economy works, compound interest, and why it’s important to save early are “crucial life skills that our graduates need today. Many of them when they’re coming out of high school, college or university, they’re confronted with the notion of high debts on credit card bills. I think if we put financial literacy in our school system, it’ll help prepare our students for the challenges of tomorrow.”
Hudak, well aware of how hard Windsor and Essex has been hit by the decline in the manufacturing sector, explained when asked if he would consider moving a Ministry to Windsor to help alleviate unemployment that “when you’re staring at a $30-billion deficit, you’re going to be seeing fewer, rather than more [government jobs].”
While Hudak has been critical of Premiere McGuinty’s use of prorogation to effectively stop parliament in its place, he offered absolutely no remedy to such events in the future when asked if he would introduce legislation to prevent the abuse of prorogation.
“Here’s the reality, when a politician gets passed their best before date, they’ll try to find any loophole in the rules to escape responsibility,” stated Hudak, adding, “Dalton McGuinty unfortunately walked off the job when the going got tough, and the people deserve better in Ontario.”
While Hudak was provided with a second and third opportunity to answer the question of whether or not he would introduce legislation to prevent abuse, he used the time to condemn the Liberal’s use of prorogation without suggesting any methods to reform the system or prevent future abuse.
“I would much rather focus my time on policies that are going to bring jobs back to Windsor and Essex, with decisions to actually get our fiscal house in order,” explained Hudak, adding, “We can have all kinds of debate about rules and regulations…it’s not about the rules, it’s about the character of a government that basically walked off the job when the going got tough.”
Regarding the Liberal leadership race, Hudak set his sights firmly on Sandra Pupatello and emphatically made clear that he sees her as cut from the same cloth as Dalton McGuinty.
“Nobody is more closely associated with the Dalton McGuinty Liberal record than Sandra Pupatello,” he said, “She was there at the Cabinet table for 8 years longer than anybody else…she was a former Deputy Leader. If you want four more years of Dalton McGuinty liberals, you’ve got your candidate. I just sense people are looking for change.”
Jonathon Liedtke is the Features & Opinion Editor for the University of Windsor Lance Campus/Community Newspaper and a reporter for ourWindsor.ca. As a founding member and current Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, he is committed to representing, connecting, engaging with and advocating for local youth. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.