Is Hudak’s ‘million jobs’ plan the economic shock Ontario needs? – by Christina Blizzard (Toronto Sun – February 23, 2014)

TORONTO – A million jobs: Is it myth or miracle. That’s the question PC leader Tim Hudak was asked as he introduced his “Million Jobs Act” in the legislature last week.

I posed that question to economists.The province’s manufacturing sector is dying. We’ve lost 300,000 jobs over the last 10 years. Big companies such as Heinz and Kelloggs are pulling out daily. University of Calgary Professor Jack Mintz said he’s not sure public policy alone will create a million jobs. Other factors, such as the world economy, play a big part.

Mintz figures this province needs a kick start.“I think Ontario needs a shock in the positive sense. It’s dragging. It needs a serious look at the restructured role it’s going to have,” he said. “I think he (Hudak) has the right focus, which is to say,’ How can we get more economic growth and more jobs?’

“Whether he can create a million jobs or not is another story,” he added. Hudak’s plan to get energy costs under control makes sense, Mintz said. “I think the energy file is in a mess in Ontario and needs to be fixed. It’s going in the wrong direction right now and it’s going to make Ontario very uncompetitive,” he said.

Mintz had a stern warning for Premier Kathleen Wynne on her plan to introduce a mandatory payroll tax to pay for her new “Made in Ontario” pension plan.

“Raising payroll taxes at a time when you need more jobs, this is not going to help the economy,” he said.

Seniors most at risk of living in poverty are those living alone. Mintz said Canadians actually do a fairly good job saving for retirement and Wynne’s plan is a solution in search of a problem.

New Democratic Party leader Andrea Horwath is also on the wrong track, he said.

“The NDP is pushing things like raising corporate taxes, which again is not going to help very much getting things going,” Mintz said.

Professor Ian Lee of Ottawa’s Sprott School of Business concurs that it’s tough to predict how many jobs will be created by Hudak’s plan. But he, too, said this province must get back on the right track.

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