Local Economies Devastated by Ongoing Jobs Crisis: Clark
09 July 2012
QUEEN’S PARK – Government needs to get our economic fundamentals right, by modernizing outdated labour laws to prevent further plant closures and relocations that have devastated several communities, their economies and residents, Ontario PC MPP and Municipal Affairs and Housing Critic Steve Clark said today.
On Friday, Statistics Canada had more tough economic news for towns and cities across the province: Ontario’s unemployment rate has been higher than the national average for 66 straight months. Compounding this is reckless Liberal overspending that has put Ontario on track toward an unsustainable $30-billion deficit. This only deters job creators from choosing to expand or open up shop here.
“News of a local plant being relocated, a factory shut down or a company going out of business is an utter day of mourning for towns and cities,” said Clark, a former mayor of Brockville. “Communities like Welland, Hamilton and London – to name only a few – have been hard hit because of the government’s failure to turn around the province’s once-thriving manufacturing sector,” Clark said.
One example of an Ontario plant that closed its doors is Siemens AG, which moved from Hamilton to North Carolina. This resulted in 500 jobs lost. Today, the Hamilton area has a 7.3 per cent unemployment rate.
“The Liberals’ approach is in stark contrast to Tim Hudak and the Ontario PCs, who have put on the table bold ideas to get Ontarians working again like lower taxes, affordable energy and fewer costly regulations,” Clark said.
The Ontario PCs also recently published proposals to create a modern and competitive workforce, as detailed in their Paths to Prosperity: Flexible Labour Markets discussion paper. One proposal includes giving individual workers a choice on becoming or remaining a union member.
The Pacific Research Institute found U.S. states with expanded worker choice legislation outperformed others in a number of key areas. Over a ten-year period, states that gave workers a choice had higher economic, personal income and employment growth. In contrast, states where union membership was mandatory saw a one per cent decline in employment growth.
Other ideas proposed include: making union leaders more accountable to unionized employees; modernizing tendering rules to open up more government work to private sector competition; and reforming workplace agencies for a more flexible workforce and job creation.
Clark, a former chief administrative officer for the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands, concluded “We need a growing economy across Ontario to drive local prosperity across the province. A good place to start is by pulling the province’s 1940s labour laws into the 21st century.”