Hal-Nor MPP Barrett’s Column- Past 8 Years Have Been Unkind To Us

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Returning prosperity to our rural communities .

The past eight years have not been kind to our area.

With many concerns across the riding, it’s time for a government that addresses the needs of rural communities.

At the doors, I continue to hear about taxes and paying the bills.

For our part, we will scrap the HST and debt retirement charge on electricity and the HST on home heating fuel while we eliminate mandatory smart meters.

Tax hikes kill jobs, it’s that simple. I join with Tim Hudak in committing to cut taxes and create jobs:

– we will cut income taxes 5 per cent for a start;

– we will bring in revenue sharing for families;

– we will double the caregivers’ tax credit;

– we will cut the tax rate for small business to 10 per cent; and

– we will cut bureaucratic red tape by 30 per cent:

Tax cuts mean more money in the hands of consumers to save, spend or invest – boosting the economy and creating jobs.

Less red tape means less hours and money spent on paper work and jumping through hurdles and more spent on growing business.

As we see 400 jobs leave the coal-fired generating station at Nanticoke, we see the arrival of 200 industrial wind turbines in our area. The PC Caucus has called and fought for a moratorium on all wind turbines until concerns have been dealt with.

A Tim Hudak government will take the next step with commitments to:

1. Restore local decision-making powers

2. End McGuinty’s expensive and unsustainable FIT program that pays out rates to green energy developers close to 20 times market rate

3. Scrap the sweetheart Samsung deal; and

4. Eliminate the HST and debt retirement charge from electricity bills

While we take aim at restoring Ontario’s status as the economic engine of Canada, there is little doubt health care remains a top priority for all.

Under Dalton McGuinty, health care dollars have been diverted through the billion-dollar e-health scandal, and bloated local health integration network (LHIN) bureaucracy.

Tim Hudak and I will work to redirect this money into patient care.

Anyone who lives in our area understands strong farms are vital to a strong Ontario. And a strong rural Ontario needs a healthy and sustainable agricultural sector – one that provides opportunities for the next generation.

Government does have a role to play. But government policy can also be problematic and, like every business, our farms have been hard hit by tax grabs, bureaucratic red tape and sky-rocketing electricity bills. Farmers are working harder but earning less.

Farmers require stability and predictability. The current federal agri-stability approach is not enough. A risk management program (RMP) for non-supply managed commodities – cash crop, hogs, cattle, sheep and veal – must be permanent. And hort needs a self-directed risk management program.

Over the last 12 years, I’ve been part of the tractor rallies across Ontario to close down provincial highways and push this government for the assurance provided by RMP.

Once again, it took the pressure of a pre-election budget before McGuinty came through for farmers – after eight years. To be clear, a PC government will deliver the business risk management program that farmers, and the Ontario PC party opposition, has long championed.

In the coming years, I look forward to turning things around to provide the hope and prosperity our hard-working rural communities deserve.

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