Not any more

We’re not perfect, McGuinty says

In Canada on August 20, 2010 at 09:57

The Ontario government isn’t perfect, Premier Dalton McGuinty said in Ottawa Thursday.

And despite a series of scandals and missteps that have dogged his government lately, the premier said the province has made tremendous progress under the Liberals and he is happy to let people judge his government on its record.

Ontario heads to the polls in October 2011.

“We are actually getting things done in the province of Ontario,” McGuinty said. “By any objective assessment, that’s progress. It’s not perfection, but I don’t think Ontarians expect perfection. They expect continuing progress.”

By any objective assessment, however, the summer has not been a good one for the government. The introduction of the HST, the botched introduction of new eco fees, the OPP investigation into four ministries and other scandals and missteps, have angered many voters and put the government on the defensive.

But the premier said mistakes happen in every government, and when it comes down to it, he said he believes that people are more concerned about their government getting the “big stuff” right, than things the political class is consumed by.

“People actually believe their own personal experience, and I think we stand in good stead in that regard,” he said.

After a tough recession that ravaged the province, McGuinty said Ontario is leading the economic recovery, with enviable growth in key sectors. Retail sales are up 10 per cent, manufacturing 22 per cent and exports 33 per cent from this time a year ago, he said.

Statistics Canada says retail sales were up 5.8 per cent from May 2009 to 2010, the last month the figure is available; that’s third-best among Canadian provinces. The agency also says manufacturing sales were up 20 per cent between June 2009 and 2010, the best among Canadian provinces.

The province’s figures for exports say that they were up 29.8 per cent from June to June, according to an economic update released last Friday. On the other hand, housing starts and resales are down, according to the province’s update, and wages have not kept up with inflation.

But significantly, the premier told reporters, the province has recovered 80 per cent of the jobs it lost during the recession.

“We used to be at the back of the pack as a result of what happened to us during the recession, now we are the fastest growing economy in the country. We are No. 1 when it comes to economic recovery,” he said.

The premier was in Ottawa with new Infrastructure Minister Bob Chiarelli to celebrate the $3.7-million expansion of the Greenboro Community Centre, which is in his Ottawa South riding. The expansion is one of 760 community centre projects across the province that is being financed with $380 million from the federal and provincial governments. It is expected to be completed next March, in line with the requirements of federal stimulus funding.

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

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