On the heels of the GPO’s platform release was the Ontario Progressive Conservative’s (OPC) announcement of their 2014 platform. Last Wednesday morning, the OPC’s leader, Tim Hudak publicized their “Million Jobs Plan” in downtown Toronto, stating that creating jobs is “at the core of every decision I make”. The platform begins with a statement about Ontario’s current position compared with its past and is followed by some statistics regarding job loss, emigration, current unemployment rates and accumulated debt, among others.
The platform goes on to outline a number of “actions” towards attaining each of the party’s stated goals. So, what are some of these goals?
1) Making Ontario a “Jobs Powerhouse” by:
- Replacing corporate welfare with lower taxes
- Increasing opportunities in skilled trades
- Making energy affordable
- Creating jobs and growth in Northern and Rural Ontario
- Expanding free trade
Before continuing with listing further actions, the platform highlights the need for a two-step approach to eliminating current debt – economic growth and reduced spending. The PC’s claims that, “ an Ontario PC government will balance the budget within two years of the election.” So, on that note of “balancing the budget”, let’s see what actions the PC has envisioned.
2) “A Government we can afford” by:
- Bringing balance back to government benefits
- Reducing the size of the government Payroll
- Encouraging better service through competition
- Shrinking the cabinet
3) The platform also emphasized “Better Health Care and Education” by:
- Putting a new focus on chronic care
- Moving health care closer to home
- Using evidence to improve results and value
- Keeping children active
- Raising the bar for students in schools
- Improving student achievement in Math
- Protecting core education
Some of these actions (highlighted) may be significant in the realm of local and healthy food and farming for a few reasons. Firstly, Creating Jobs and Growth in Northern and Rural Ontario touches on land use development planning and allocation of farmlands in these areas. Additionally, Expanding Free Trade is connected to food and agriculture as it is responsible for laying out the terms of import and export of foods and agricultural inputs. Lastly, Encouraging Better Service Through Competition (including food service, as mentioned in the PC’s platform), specifically outlines increased competition for the food service industry.
These are only some of the actions outlined. For more details, you can check out their platform here.
Given that there is much focus on jobs (as implied by its name), does this platform coincide with your vision for the future of healthy and local food and farming in Ontario? Let us know your thoughts.