Yuri Bilinsky, New Pathway – Ukrainian News.
Ontarians are now used to the serious-looking and even worried Premier Doug Ford who would speak about threats and challenges of the current pandemic at press conferences. On July 10, at the meeting with the ethnic press in the Progressive Conservative party’s headquarters in Etobicoke, ON, he looked serious but more relaxed. He began his address with a smile when he broke the news that Ontario added almost 378 thousand jobs in June, due to going into Stage 2 of reopening. He also stressed the fact that the number of new daily COVID-19 cases in Ontario has been going down. Premier Ford expects that this will allow the province to enter Stage 3 in August and that the job numbers will be even better then, without “letting our guard down,” he added.
Another good news, which Doug Ford relayed during the meeting, was his reassurance, in response to Jurij Klufas’s (Kontakt TV) question, that his government will continue supporting Ontario’s ethnic media and that any media outlet, which has been omitted so far, will get its share of coronavirus-related advertising.
Canada’s fiscal situation entered the spotlight once again when the federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau presented the budget snapshot earlier in the week. The new budget deficit of $343 billion surprised many. In his response to NP-UN’s question, Premier Ford called the deficit and interest, which is paid on government debt, “absolutely staggering”. He said that, to put its fiscal house in order, Ontario is “driving efficiencies” in government as opposed to cuts. “There is tremendous waste,” he said. “To any politician at any level of government who says, ‘we are the most efficient’, I say – nonsense. I don’t like cuts, I want to create new ways of doing things.”
Among these “new ways” he named going digital and using new technology. Ontario is a global hub when it comes to Artificial Intelligence and the region of Ottawa, Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto is only slightly behind California’s Silicon Valley in terms of technology innovation, said Ford. “We are the most diverse jurisdiction in North America and we have the smartest and brightest people,” he added.
Doug Ford praised the versatility of Ontario’s economy which has started to produce face masks and shields, medical gowns, hand sanitizer and ventilators. “We can compete with anyone in the world and we will. Ontario is the economic power house in North America, the third largest trading partner to the United States in the entire world. Our two-way trade with the USA is $390 billion [in 2018 – NP-UN] and it’s pretty well split equally. Just imagine if we took 10 per cent of that off of them. I love the U.S., just want to qualify that, but we can kick their butts. We are unstoppable, Ontario,” he said.