When it comes to political handouts, one made by Premier Dalton McGuinty Friday probably set the record for lasting the shortest time before being revoked. McGuinty was touring the Bombardier plant in Loyalist Township Friday morning when, during his speech, he told the assembled workers they could have the rest of the day off as a reward for their hard work.
That unexpected McGuinty Day lasted only until Bombardier vice-president David Barry took the microphone to thank the premier for his visit.
“On behalf of the 300 of us, before we get back to work, I just want to say thank you very much for your visit today,” said Barry, putting a quick end to the Liberal holiday.
McGuinty, accompanied by Attorney General and Kingston and Islands MPP John Gerretsen, was touring the plant to garner support for his minority government’s spring budget.
He said he picked Bombardier since the firm has become “an iconic Canadian brand.”
“It has almost become a symbol of Ontario itself, of our capacity to find new opportunities in a very fragile global economy.
“You go to China: they know this company. You go to India: they know this company. You go to other parts of the world: they know this company.”
McGuinty said the single biggest challenge to the province is its deficit, made more difficult by the fact the world economy has not rebounded after the Past recession as fast as it did following previous recessions.
“We can’t count on the outside world to pull us forward,” McGuinty said, “so we have got to take some difficult measures … to eliminate our deficit (and) we have to do it in a way that protects those services that are most important — schools and health care.”
McGuinty said the budget was designed to support the economic growth that is taking place in Ontario. The premier said people working in the public sector — doctors, teachers, nurses, college and university workers and politicians — all have to do their part. That is why he is asking them to freeze their pay for two years.
“It’s not an easy decision, but I think it’s an important decision. Our choice is to hit the pause button when it comes to pay, as opposed to increasing pay which requires letting go nurses, letting go teachers and the like.”
He said he couldn’t guarantee there wouldn’t be layoffs in the public sector but he promised to do everything he could to prevent job losses.
He said he was aware of the federal government job cuts, particularly in Ottawa, and promised to do what he could to generate new jobs to cushion the blow.
“I want to tell all young people in particular I can’t guarantee you a job, but I can guarantee you employability. I am going to make sure you have the skills, that you have access to lifelong training that makes you very attractive to employment opportunities that arise along the way.”
Premier praises Bombardier's work
By Michael Lea
The Kingston Whig-Standard
April 13, 2012