By MPP Toby Barrett
Now that the election has reached the finish line, it’s vital we don’t lose the ideas generated at the doors, at debates, and at our local fairs.
I’m concerned minority leadership may mean continued government inability to understand and meet the needs of rural and small town Ontario.
While minority governments have weaknesses including instability, and inefficiency, after the months on the campaign trail it is time to roll up our sleeves and deal with the issues we’ve been talking about in Haldimand-Norfolk and across the province.
Repeatedly we heard concerns shared by many in Haldimand and Norfolk Counties:
paying the bills and taxes – the price of electricity
lack of jobs,
industrial wind turbines
the land dispute, Douglas Creek Estates, and smoke shops
As I noted at 12 all-candidates meetings over the last month, the past eight years have not been kind to our area – we’ve been kicked in the teeth. Without help – in fact with obstruction – from the now re-elected present government.
Despite the frustration of minority governments, I look forward to working with Tim Hudak and my caucus colleagues to advocate for the priorities that drove our platform – priorities that include our commitments to make life less expensive, less intrusive and more reflective of Ontario values.
As we see 400 jobs leave our Nanticoke coal plant, we have all become aware of plans for the arrival of 200 industrial wind turbines to our area.
Building on our past calls for a wind moratorium, I look forward to continuing work on a series of initiatives aimed at slowing the progress of McGuinty’s unaffordable and unreliable ‘green’ machine.
We must address the uncontrolled, unsustainable rise in electricity rates – over eight years, rates have increased 84 per cent – 150 per cent for families with smart meters. Clearly harnessing the runaway electricity price should continue to be a top priority at Queens Park.
We must continue to bring attention to the series of issues surrounding land disputes that have suffocated our area over the past five years: concentrating on the need to enforce one law for all; and cracking down on smoke shacks and the sale of illegal tobacco.
We must also ensure the delivery of a business risk management program that farmers, and the Hudak Opposition, have long championed. New programs must be implemented for the cattle, hog, sheep and veal sectors as well as a self-directed risk management program for horticultural crops.
The 500,000 regulations that smother small businesses and farms across Ontario must be cut back. Bureaucratic rules, regulations, paperwork and forms kill small businesses – forcing many to close up shop altogether.
Ontario’s chronic unemployment requires investment in training, and fixing the apprenticeship system to create more than 200,000 new apprenticeship spaces.
As your MPP, I thank one and all for your hard work, dedication, and support that will enable me to represent what’s right for our area, to communicate and ensure our voices are heard.