Dalton McGuinty

The building trades have done a great job of making the province strong, Premier Dalton McGuinty told a meeting of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario.
“The trades do more than just build,” he said in a speech to 250 delegates at the meeting. “You build us up.”
At the Oct. 19 meeting, the premier thanked the building trades for their contributions and told delegates that in today’s global economy it’s more important than ever for the trades and government to work together to ensure that Ontario remains economically strong.
To compete and ensure that the quality of Ontario is maintained, McGuinty said government and the trades have to find common ground.
“We have got to stay tight.”
McGuinty said the trades are doing their part in building Ontario and looking to recruit and train the next generation of construction workers.
The Hammerheads program is a great example of that, he noted.
The premier said the building trades are intent on building a better workforce for the future, something the government also wants to happen.
On a political note, McGuinty spoke about his government’s record on education and healthcare, noting that 23 new hospitals have been built since he became premier in 2003.
Meanwhile, he said, electricity is also cleaner and smog is down by 50 per cent and Ontario has the fastest growing clean energy industry in North America.
The government has also broken records by investing in infrastructure, he said, pointing out that the Liberals have invested $75 billion in infrastructure in the last nine years and this year $13 billion will be invested.
“We have built things that will strengthen Ontario for years to come.”
McGuinty said the investments add 100,000 jobs a year to the construction industry.
The premier said the government is also acting responsibly to eliminate the provincial deficit, which is projected to be $14.4 billion at the end of the 2012-13 fiscal year, and is ahead of its own plan to balance the budget.
“We’re on the right track and have to keep moving in that direction,” he said.
McGuinty said he wants to eliminate the deficit but not by cutting jobs and services to Ontarians.
Going forward, he said, the government intends to sit down with its labour partners to negotiate new deals that will have wage freezes.
McGuinty was followed to the podium by Labour Minister Linda Jeffrey and then by Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath.
Jeffrey told delegates that the Liberals have invested in infrastructure and built new hospitals, restored fairness and balance to the provincial labour relations system, and created jobs.
“We’re going in the right direction,” she said.
Jeffrey criticized a white paper put out by PC leader Tim Hudak, indicating it would pave the way to poverty for many Ontarians and cause widespread labour strife in the province.
NDP leader Horwath, meanwhile, said that Ontario can do better and needs to do better.
The province needs to balance its books but needs to be responsible about the way that’s accomplished, she said.
Horwath noted the key to growing Ontario’s economy is by investing in people and making sure the province has a skilled workforce.
While some believe that Ontario’s apprenticeship system should be watered down, Horwath said reducing apprenticeship ratios would only mean fewer apprentices.
“That move is a dead end,” she said.
Instead, she said, the government needs to work with employers that want to invest in apprenticeship training.
Horwath also told the audience that Ontario faces challenging times but she has faith in the people that build the province every day.