Received a "Prue-ggle Alert" from the Prue campaign with the text of his speech unveiling his economic plank today. He seems to have also reached out to the house of labour especially CAW.
December 16th, 2008, Windsor, ON
" Good Afternoon. I want to take a moment to thank you for coming to this news conference. My name is Michael Prue, and I’m the Member of Provincial Parliament for the Toronto Riding of Beaches-East York. I’m running for the leadership of Ontario’s New Democrats and the next Premier of Ontario.
Beginning today, I will begin rolling out our five key leadership campaign planks in cities and towns across Ontario.
These policy documents will be accessible to all Ontarians for their review and there input, and can be viewed following there rollouts by visiting our campaign Web Site, www.prueforleader.ca.
In a moment, I will release our policy draft on Better Results for Ontario’s Economy, but I also hope to reach out to the leaders and rank-and-file members of the CAW, both here in Windsor and across the province, with another important message.
My door is open to you, always.
It is open to you today, as an MPP and as my party’s Economy and Industry Critic. It will remain open to you after our leadership convention in March, when I am chosen leader, and beyond.
While I am happy to accept any support for my candidacy, this open door does not come with any conditions. Our two organizations have a long history together. Some of that recent history includes hard feelings and mistrust on both sides. It will likely take time to restore trust, which is why I hope the CAW’s leadership and its rank-and-file membership will accept my hand at face value —regardless of whether or not they choose to affiliate with the NDP. Together, we can make Ontario a better place for their members, their families and their communities.
Working people deserve no less from their elected representatives, and in these very difficult economic times, I believe our respective memberships need new results.
Our proposed economic policy represents a fundamental shift away from the past 20 years of doing business in this province. At its core is a simple principle—our economic policy here should first serve the public interest of all Ontarians, and not the narrow private interests of global players seeking only to maximize profits.
The policy I am unveiling here achieves this in several different ways, and I am hopeful that it will do so in even more ways as Ontarians put their own mark on this policy.
If elected leader, I commit our party to running in the upcoming general election on the following economic principles:
1. A “Made in Ontario” procurement policy.
2. Direct investment when necessary in key sectors such as automotive, with meaningful representation, oversight and equity.
3. Extensive public investment in infrastructure, with a particular focus on energy upgrades and public transit, and,
4. Pension security and portability.
I shall now give a brief overview of each of these four elements.
1. Made in Ontario:
Such a policy is not unheard of. In fact, the CAW has launched a campaign: “Made in Canada matters.” Until very recently, Ontario had just such a strategy. Under my Made in Ontario policy, whenever the provincial government, a municipal government or public institution such as school boards, universities and hospitals puts out a tender for goods or services, bids from Ontario suppliers would be given special consideration. In the event that a bid from an Ontario supplier was within 10 per cent of the lowest bid, the Ontario-based supplier’s bid would prevail.
This approach would do more than just keep Ontario dollars circulating through the provincial economy. It also sends a strong message of confidence to Ontarians and the world that we produce world-class goods and services right here in this province.
2. Direct investment and meaningful oversight:
Our province must support industries that are critical to our long-term economic well-being. Two such industries that come to mind are the automotive and aerospace industries. Both are struggling right now, and our province must do a better job of ensuring they do not fail. I am proposing direct investment in troubled companies in these sectors, to be determined on a case-by-case basis.
However, such support ought not to be treated as a blank cheque. To ensure the public’s interests are best served, any such support requires meaningful public representation on the boards of directors in firms where the government has provided a financial position in support. Where the firm is unionized, steps should be taken to include representatives directly elected by the workers affected.
3. Infrastructure upgrades:
When the economy contracts, governments must provide meaningful stimulus to mitigate the effects. This is the situation our province finds itself in right now. Our economy requires stimulus, and I am proposing an extensive infrastructure upgrade to both stimulate the economy and to position our province to deal with the longer-term challenges of reducing our carbon footprint, weaning ourselves as much as possible from fossil fuels and reducing gridlock. Stimulus should begin on those projects which either do not require planning approval or that approval has been given.
To that end, my infrastructure upgrade program will focus extensively on retrofitting provincial and municipal government buildings to take advantage of renewable heating and lighting sources such as solar, wind and geothermal heating and cooling. This practical and principled approach will extend to universities, school boards and hospitals. As well, my plan will provide the supports necessary to municipalities seeking to upgrade their public transit systems, with a particular focus on light-rail transit where it is economical to do so. While these programs may seem costly in the short term, over the long-term economic cycle, I remain committed to ensuring the province lives within its means. As well, some of the up-front costs of these upgrades will be recouped over the longer term through reduced energy usage and reducing gridlock.
We will also take indirect measures, through the tax system to nurture our manufacturing sector, by restoration of the Manufacturer’s Tax Credit, and through our governing bodies by establishing the office of Jobs Commissioner in Ontario.
4. Pension Security and Portability:
Our highly-skilled workforce must have confidence in their incomes, both on the job and in their retirement. At the same time, the nature of the workforce has changed. A worker starting a new job today will likely not remain there for the duration of their working life, as has been the case in the past. If elected, I pledge to establish a framework for pension portability in Ontario, to allow workers to transfer their accumulated pension moneys from one job to another. For example, a worker from one of the Detroit Three who, for whatever reason no longer works there after ten years, would then be able to transfer their accumulated pension out of the Detroit Three pension funds and place it into a secure, publicly-guaranteed Ontario fund. They could then contribute into their pensions throughout the remainder of their working life, either as individuals or through employer co-payment.
I further pledge to take whatever legislative steps are available to ensure all Ontarians’ pensions are secure and flexible.
Thank you for your time. I’m happy to take whatever questions you may have."