Ontario’s Fall Economic Statement works towards growing the province.
That from Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Graydon Smith, who says Thursday’s statement has him “very comfortable” with the direction the province is pointed.
“There are things I think are contained in the economic statement that will have a real impact on the lives of people here in Parry Sound-Muskoka,” says Smith. “I look at the announcement that was made a few days ago around lowering the age of mammography from 50 to 40, and that people will be able to self-refer. For women that is a huge milestone moment.”
With affordability top of mind for most Ontarians, Smith points to the extensions of the provincial fuel tax cut and seniors tax credit as measures that will keep more money in people’s pockets, as well as measures to grow the economy. “By building a robust economy, that helps on the affordability side too. People have the opportunities, can take those opportunities and have more money in their pockets,” says Smith.
Smith adds he’d like to see the federal government move to cut the carbon tax as they’ve done in Atlantic Canada. He had raised the matter at Queen’s Park this week, calling the tax “injurious” and saying it’s impacted everything we buy.
“I think that we have a track record of wanting to make life more affordable for Ontarians in the present, and also planning for the future,” says Smith. “The biggest capital investments that this province has ever seen, over the next 10 years. Whether that’s hospitals, schools, roads and transportation infrastructure, transit in larger communities.”
Smith also touched on the newly announced Ontario Infrastructure Bank, which allows public pension plans and other “trusted institutions” to invest in infrastructure projects. Smith says its goal is attracting private investment to get infrastructure such as long-term care homes and affordable housing built more quickly.
Smith says he’s confident the province can reach its target to build 1.5-million homes over 10 years, and smaller communities such as those in Parry Sound-Muskoka can “punch above our weight” when it comes to getting housing built.
“Unquestionably we have set a very lofty goal,” says Smith. “It’s challenging economic times right now. There’s a lot of uncertainty, interest rates are higher than we’ve seen, mortgage rates. Maybe we’re perhaps a little behind where we want to be, but that just means that we keep working harder to create that path for these homes to be built.”