Governments on their own do not create jobs but can help create the conditions that favour investments, expansions, and growth. As your Member of Parliament, I will continue to support investments that create jobs, grow our economy, and build a safer community.
As a former Board member of the Community Economic Development Commission, I have been directly involved in the negotiations that allowed companies like Superior Propane (Administrative support), MeaGlow (The Lakehead University Semiconductor Research Lab) and many others, to move to Thunder Bay and create hundreds of good-paying jobs.
I have also worked diligently to ensure that our local businesses are given the tools to expand and grow, by lowering commercial and industrial tax rates, reducing red tape and bureaucracy wherever possible, and through a comprehensive business retention and expansion program that directly engaged our small business community in identifying their needs and help them on key issues.
Part of our plan to grow to the economy will be to break down interprovincial trade barriers by implementing an Interprovincial Free Trade Agreement (IFTA).
How Well Are We Doing
I have been a strong proponent of performance Indicators to see how well we are doing as a region and especially in the area of employment.
The chart above provides a pretty good indication that we have not been able to maintain our own vis-a-vis other regions in Ontario. The Thunder Bay – Superior North is blessed with beautiful natural scenery, enormous natural resources, some of the cleanest water and air anywhere in the world, and a multicultural population that non only enriches our lives but provides a great human capital potential. However, we continue to rank last or second last in economic progress among all other regions of Ontario, and our families, youth, seniors and citizens from all walks of life continue to find life less affordable every year.
Areas of Opportunities for Economic Growth – Mining and Other
Obviously more needs to be done to create the kind of growth that allows our young people and workers to stay and work in our beautiful Thunder Bay – Superior North region, and provide those who left a reason to come back. The Ring of Fire provides many such opportunities and there has already been an increase in jobs in the Mining sectors through the mines that are already operational in our region.
Opportunities for Growth in Innovation and Technology
Thunder Bay region has been developing a cluster of IT companies that offer unlimited potential for growth. In fact, with Tbaytel having now deployed fiber optics across the city and region, our geographical isolation is not a factor any longer in allowing any entrepreneur to do business with the world or the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Center providing a new level of health care services in the region through telemedicine.
As your Member of Parliament, I would bring all sectors of the economy that use innovation and technology together in identifying opportunities for expansion and growth in our natural resources sector, research industries like Health Care and Education, and world-class stand alone companies that can work with anyone anywhere in the world with the aim of creating the critical mass needed to attract and retain the talent that is now leaving the city.