A vision and a plan for what Ontario could be

By MPP Toby Barrett

Our government came into office a year and a half ago having presented a vision for Ontario – and the people of this province bought in.

People bought into a vision of an economy that is open for business, and open for jobs for those who want to work.

It is a vision of safe communities, strong health and social services, and accountable government.

A vision for Ontario that requires government to get out of the way when not needed while getting the major things right: economic fundamentals, sound public policy that reflects the priorities of people, and common sense.

When you get the fundamentals right, you set the stage for success. You create a vision of what could be … and then map out a detailed plan of how to get there.

You think beyond the barriers and challenges of today and consider the better future that couldbe… And thento do the hard work of developing and executing the detailed plans to make that vision real.

In contrast to what was going on before, we are asking people to imagine the possibilities – to imagine what could be accomplished.

Imagine public hospitals across Ontario where service levels are high and wait times are low.

Imagine a housing market where homeownership isn’t just a dream, but a reality.

Enough job-ready graduates – particularly in the skilled trades – who match the needs of a growing economy, energized by a world-leading public education system.

And imagine an economy that empowers our entrepreneurs and innovators to take risks in Ontario, creating jobs in communities across the province.

This can be our future. An Ontario where each person, and every family, has an opportunity to succeed.

We have everything we need to take on the world whether it be in steel, or auto, or agribusiness – and win.

As Ontario’s Finance Minister reiterated in a recent speech to the Canadian Club of Toronto, we are in a highly-competitive global economy, where companies and countries do everything they can to defend theiradvantages.

We live in a world where other states and provinces work hard to compete, leveraging their advantages and their local strengths for the benefit of their citizens.

When we look around the world we see countries that get it. Countries that want to win. They are hungry and determined to create innovative and globally-competitive economies for the benefit of their citizens.

In this global competition for talent and investment and innovation, our province has underperformed.

Our government understands that this is the reality for our country and our province and we have to up our game.

We must have a government focused on improving our competitiveness and productivity – without that focus we all get poorer. Because there is a necessary link between a growing economy, and our ability to invest in world-class government services and supports for all of us and particularly for those most in need.

We believe the role of government is to enable the opportunity for a better quality of life, and a higher standard of living, for all of our citizens. All of this is within the context of that increasingly competitive global economy.

That is why we have a plan, and that is why we’re implementing that plan.

Toby Barrett is MPP for Haldimand-Norfolk