By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express
Rona Ambrose is concerned for Oshawa’s future under the Liberal government.
Speaking with The Oshawa Express at the GTA East Conservative Party Policy Conference at Queen Elizabeth Public School, the interim leader of the opposition says that new and planned taxes under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will only make things worse for Oshawa’s economy.
“We’re still waiting on a sign from this government that they have a plan for the economy. They’ve already raised taxes. Here in Oshawa, we’re concerned about the manufacturing sector. Prime Minister Trudeau has already said he thinks manufacturing needs to be phased out,” Ambrose says, referencing a January 2015 interview where the then third party leader told the London Free Press that Southwestern Ontario should move away from a manufacturing-first economy and move toward “much more innovation and high-tech and a more knowledge economy.”
“We’re very concerned, especially in a contract year, that the auto sector will not get the support that they need. And when I say that, I look to all the jobs that are being lost to the United States because of our lack of competitiveness internationally.
“And the Trudeau government, I don’t think they’ll be any different than the Wynne government, so we’re looking at new carbon taxes, we’ve already seen an increase in income taxes, and all of these things lead to job losses. So there’s a big concern in Oshawa.”
“Their speech from the throne didn’t mention things that are important to our region, zero for agriculture and zero for manufacturing. I’ve asked them what is their plan for manufacturing,” added Colin Carrie, Oshawa’s MP. “We’re having challenges now where Ontario has the highest industrial rates for electricity in North America. We are competing against Michigan, and they have competitive rates. They’re talking about a new carbon tax not only at the provincial level, but now federally. It could be two different taxes. The uncertainty is driving new investors and manufacturers crazy.”
The conference, with many taking place across the country, saw card-holding members of the Conservative Party debate policies ahead of the party’s national convention in May in Vancouver.
Ambrose, who was voted in as the interim leader of the party after former prime minister Stephen Harper stepped down following his party’s defeat in the October election, says that her party’s message still resonates with many across the country, and that they will be bringing that message to the country over the next few years before the 2019 election.
“I think the Conservative Party’s message resonates with a lot of Canadians, and those are Canadians that believe in smaller government, fiscal responsibility, low taxes, balanced budgets, individual liberty, that see a role for government in terms of paving the way for success but really then getting out of the way and allowing people to achieve that success,” she says. “We have a role to play in making sure we get that message out to Canadians and we have four years to do that.”