In Conversation with Premier Kathleen Wynne

Kathlleen Wynne & Nolan Machan
In Conversation with Premier Kathleen Wynne

On October 13th, Premier Wynne arrived at the Liberal candidate Pam Damoff’s office in her official government issued black Suburban, including driver and security detail. Pam Damoff is running in the new Federal riding of Oakville North Burlington. What ensued was a classic election meet and greet with local Liberal volunteers, along with short concise comments designed to bolster the ground troops. Naturally, Wynne was greeted with admiration and applause.

After the stump speeches Wynn had a brief private conversation with Damoff. Ten minutes later I was taken to a room in another unit where the Premier was waiting. Premier Wynne was relaxed and pleased with how the day was going.

The first question asked was about the Federal Liberal position on the legalization of marijuana. It was a question that was asked at the local debates.

It was surprising that the premier was not willing to endorse the Federal Liberal Party’s platform to legalize, regulate and tax the sale of marijuana. She felt that there still is not enough evidence in support of the move, and requires more study. This is in contrast to John Oliver’s (Oakville Riding Federal Liberal Candidate) and Pam Damoff’s complete support of the Federal Liberal’s position.

We then discussed the problem of chronic youth unemployment, and what can be done about it. Currently, the rate of unemployment among young people between the ages of 18 and 28 is over 15 percent.

From the Premier’s perspective the goal is to create a positive and strong business environment. One of the things the Federal Government could do to assist Ontario would be to invest in infrastructure. Our roads, highways, transit lines, and railways are not in good shape. Corporate decision makers look at how easy would it be to move product around, and how easy would it be for people to get to and from work? The province’s infrastructure needs strong support by the Federal government according to Wynne.

The Ontario Retirement Pension Plan could also be affected by what happens at the Federal level. The aim of the Ontario Liberal government is to bump up the current Federal retirement payments. The existing plans were designed when a large percentage of the working population had corporate pension plans. However, at the present moment only 30 percent of Ontarian residents have a corporate pension plan, and a large number of the remaining 70 percent do not have adequate savings to carry themselves through retirement. The Ontario plan is to implement a payroll deduction which would double the annual government retirement income, so that when the programs are combined they could payout $24,000 per year. The more the Federal government is willing to increase the existing Federal retirement programs could potentially alter what the Provincial government would need to do, according to Wynne.

The issue that Wynne wanted to drive home was the desire for Ontario to have a better relationship with the leader of the Federal government. “There are times when the leader of the country needs to be involved with the premiers, ” stated Premier Wynne.

Is Kathleen Wynne a flag waving Liberal? Absolutely. However, it is clear that she believes what she says is in the best interest of Ontario residents. The decision that Oakville voters will need to make on October 19th is whether they agree with that direction for our town.

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