Ontario Premier to Face Questions in Pledge to Grow Economy

Published: February 16, 2016

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Ontario Premier, Kathleen Wynne, is expected to be facing a tough opening to the political year when the province legislature resumes sitting Tuesday. Wynne’s Liberal party has been talking of the need to make the economy the number one priority and to boost job, with the premier herself has repeated this.

However, opposition parties say that the government’s track record on both subjects hardly inspires confidence. Wynne will also face a tricky economical question to start the legislative year, particularly why she described a 2013 pledge to cut auto insurance rates by 15 per cent as a “stretch goal,” but only after the deadline passed.

Wynne says the upcoming budget will help to continue Ontario’s recent growth, with the province now leading the whole country in terms of foreign investment, what she calls a diversified economy.

“You will see in our budget that our focus is on how we can work across the province to make decisions that will allow for growth in communities and to work with businesses to allow us to continue to lead the country,'' she said last week.

There have been reports that the budget will be launched on Feb. 25th, a full two months before last year’s budget, but Wynne has not commented on such speculation.

While Wynne is talking up Ontario’s economy and describing the province as ideal for foreign investments, opposition parties like the Progressive Conservatives say high electricity rates actually make Ontario a tough place to do business. The Tories will ask tough questions of Wynne this term, including asking her to explain why two former aids were caught deleting government emails.

“We're looking for Kathleen Wynne to explain to Ontario how she's going to bring transparency to government, how she's going to bring honesty and integrity to government, because when you see four OPP investigations, multiple criminal charges, that people frankly expect a lot better from the government,'' said  PC Leader Patrick Brown.

The New Democrats have long been critical of Wynne’s plan to cut auto insurance rates by 15 per cent, with the deadline for that pledge passing midway through 2015. The Premier is likely to face questions about the validity of the original pledge, which was always described as mere vote buying by critics.

“We have a system that is working for the insurance companies and hauling in a heck of a lot of profits for them, while people are struggling to keep their cars on the road,'' said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.