Premier Kathleen Wynne responds to questions from The Globe and Mail editor-in-chief John Stackhouse at the Ontario Economic Summit in Niagara-on-the-Lake on Friday.
On coming public-sector labour negotiations
“I believe that the people who are delivering services in the province understand that as a government, we have the best interests of the economic future of the province at heart, and I believe we can work in partnership with them. It doesn’t mean it won’t be difficult; it doesn’t mean that there won’t be moments of disruption. But what I can promise is that we will have a respectful discussion and we will remain determined to get our fiscal house in better order.”
On whether business tax credits should be cut back
“There’s an intricate web of tax credits. We need to look at which ones are working, which ones aren’t working, and is all of that money that is foregone revenue, essentially, producing the results that we want.”
On preparing future generations to compete economically
“I’m not sure we’ve done everything we need to do to help kids to be creative and to have boldness be part of their DNA. … Literacy and numeracy are extremely important, and we’ve done a good job of increasing our capacity in those areas, but we’ve got some issues in the education system that are less tangible.”
On the need to increase CPP premiums, even with a fragile economy
“If we have a generation of people who do not have enough to live on, in the years when they need support, there’s no government that is going to be able to ignore that problem. So from my perspective, we either pay now or we pay later.”
On federal-provincial relations
“I think Dalton McGuinty and I agreed on this: The country functions better when we’ve got the provinces working together and the federal government working with the provinces. I’m not sure Stephen Harper sees the confederation that way.”
On proceeding with full-day kindergarten despite the need for spending restraint
"There are some, from my perspective, non-negotiables. Full-day kindergarten, which Don Drummond suggested we not implement - to me, that would be a short-sighted decision. In fact, what we know about the needs of young children, I would suggest that as a country we need to do more to invest in zero to three...Full-day kindergarten is an investment in the future productivity of the population."
On spending priorities
“One of the things about infrastructure that I think is really important that we have not necessarily paid close enough attention to in this province, and I would suggest in the country, is the incremental nature of it. You can’t take long, generational breaks in investment in infrastructure.”