Some Questions And Answers With Ontario Minister of Finance Charles
Here are some questions and answers with the Minister asked at a media
scrum after a business group presentation
How will Cap and Trade help us?
“ With Cap and Trade all the proceeds will all go back into the community to lower emissions and find economic growth. We have lowered carbon substantially in Ontario by getting out of coal and are one of the lowest emitters in Canada. We are trying to lower overall use. It is happening all over the world which means we need to harness it sooner and get a net benefit.”
“ Ontario, in the last quarter, has led Canada and has led the G8 including the United States in growth because of our diversified economy. The western provinces were affected more adversely as their economy is less diverse and more commodity related. We now lead Canada in the development and innovation in green technology.”
“We want to make cap and trade a net benefit for people. The world recognizes the need to reduce carbon. We won’t be competitive with smoke stacks but with new age technology, some of the beauties of the north with tourism and academic excellence for example. It means taking leadership in the new world economy of low carbon.”
“ We want people in Ontario to get further ahead with a greener economy. Cap and Trade is a lower cost option than some other jurisdictions are using. There are too many relieing on traditional systems like oil and wood heating that are expensive and negative to their health in the north.”
Will the province of Ontario have balanced budget?
“We have beat our deficit targets seven years in a row, are borrowing less than we have anticipated and are coming to balance next year and the year after. That is important for our operating costs because you don't want to borrow for your operating expenses. I don’t mind having
debt for capital and investments. Our net debt to GDP is around 39% which compares much more favourably that other parts of the world. We want to be able to make sure the investments will have a net benefit for future generations.” “Controlling our debt and expenses is also important. Our interest on debt is lower that it has been in 25 years and represents 8 to 9 % of our revenue. In the past it has been up to 15%. We have locked in low cost borrowing for periods of up to 30 years
to minimize volatility.”
How do you think the new Trump administration will affect Ontario?
“I think the administration will recognize and do recognize the importance of trade with Canada. In fact they see the tremendous benefits of trading with Ontario. The Great Lakes corridor and the
access point is critical for them and us. They rely on us as we are one of their biggest buyers and customers. That will grow and continue to strengthen. We do have to be sensitive to issues like softwood lumber and trade initiates. I believe the new President will be looking at Canada as a partner not an enemy.”
What is the status of the Ring of Fire project?
“The Ring of Fire is an untapped opportunity, $60 billion of opportunity right here in the north. We have put up our $1 billion for the project. This is a decision we are making for 10, 20, and 40
“ We want to use the $1 billion for transportation infrastructure and have to work with the First Nations on this. We started this project about 7 years ago and need to get it right. The mineral benefits are for 40 or 50 years or more.We have capital galore that want to invest
in this project including pension funds right here in Canada.”
“ Our diversified economy helps us to grow. We need the Ring of Fire to help us to further grow.”