Miller says Liberal debt, deficit don’t add up to PC’s one million jobs
By Mark Clairmont / MuskokaTODAILY
BRACEBRIDGE — Norm Miller and the PCs are a new party.
They’re polished, confident and casual.
But their message remains the same – not more nuanced and laserlike.
With a lesson in economics 101, Miller kicked off his re-election bid as Progressive Conservative MPP Wednesday morning.
He told dozen or so supporters that a bigger deficit and larger debt don’t add up to more jobs.
It’s his party, he says, that will add one million jobs in Ontario.
After all, that’s what former leader Mike Harris did.
But Miller sees a difference between corporate welfare – giving tax dollars to big companies that already make money — and giving a hand up to struggling small business.
That’s why he said PC Leader Tim Hudak opposed giving Chrysler $700 million recently to expand in Ontario.
He says less tax and lower hydro rates are what Ontarians need to get moving again.
Miller cited the Kimberly-Clark factory in Huntsville. He says they employ 200 workers and want to take advantage of a $500 million company expansion investment being offered. But with the highest hydro rates among KC’s North American plants, he says it’s hard to be competitive and to create jobs.
He said Hudak — whom he “likes” and thinks will make “a great premier´— is setting the stage to create more jobs, unlike the Liberals he says whose economic stimulus hasn’t worked and won’t.
Miller said the Liberals have added $20 billion to the provincial debt each of the past seven years. That adds up to $140 billion and brings the provincial debt to $289 billion.
And last year Ontario’s deficit was $11.3 billion. Premier Kathleen’s proposed budget last week would raise it to $12.5 billion.
He said that since 2005 Ontario’s “debt to GDP” has gone up from 27 per to 40 per cent.
A negative trending, he asserted, “wasting” tax dollars on debt.
PCs want to invest in skills development to employ teens and university students and grads, said a buoyant Miller.
The Member of Provincial Parliament for 13 years is older, politically wiser and more at ease when addressing the challenges of juggling the interests of big business with those in his riding who are either young and poor, middle-class barely keeping their heads above Lake Muskoka, or who are old — and rich and or on pension — and equally worried about living longer and paying for health care and higher taxes.
Comfortable, confident — at times a little too glib — Miller believes this is the PC’s time.
The veteran of the PC caucus says that while he’s seen the very lean times in the old Ontario-governing party, he has had a big voice in its resurgence, though he stopped well short of saying the party is in any way his making or has fingerprints all over it - “every Member has had their say and input.”
He will tell voters that if they’re tired of their MPP sitting in the Opposition bench, they should vote Miller and the PCs for the government.
The next 41 days — after the writ was drawn today — will tell.
And that’s longer than the normal 28-day campaign, he said.
Meanwhile, local Liberals are struggling to find a suitable candidate.
Riding president Dan Waters says they should know by early next week.
His wife, Cindy, will not run again.
Waters said they weren’t ready for a spring election; they thought fall.
A rushed nomination meeting could be held this weekend.
He is meeting with provincial party officials Thursday and said “if you hear I’ve stepped down as president…” that means he’s Miller’s opponent.
Saturday, New Democrats are expected to announce their president Clive Mobely will carry the orange and black colours the next six weeks…
And eight hours after Miller opened his office at 11 Taylor Road, Green candidate Matt Richter returns to the race with opening of his campaign office in Bracebridge at 200 Manitoba St. N., across from Oliver’s Coffee.
No wonder Miller said it is doubtful Hudak will spend any time in the riding before June 12.
Only if he’s passing through to another riding.
A supremely confident Miller said Hudak only visits ridings where he thinks they need help.
So, don’t expect to see him — unless Hudak crashes and burns like the last time he went to the electorate.
Then, maybe, Waters can strike lightning again like he did when Bob Rae unexpectedly won and he became a one-term NDP MPP.
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