October 19, 2012
Ontario construction reflects on McGuinty legacy
Dalton McGuinty will be remembered by Ontario construction as the infrastructure premier, say industry stakeholders.
“He and his government have recognized that economic infrastructure is a long-term investment. You can’t turn it down, you can’t turn it off just because you’ve got budget issues and that investing in hospitals, schools, public buildings, roads, sewers, etc. is a vital part of growing and building the economy,” said David Frame, director of government relations for the Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA).
Following news of his decision to resign and prorogue Queen’s Park, construction leaders reflected on the impact McGuinty had on Ontario during his nine-year tenure as premier and 16 years as leader of the Liberal party.
Under his reign, the Liberals created a 10-year infrastructure plan to focus on economic growth and improve asset management. It created an expanded role for Infrastructure Ontario. The six years prior to the June 2011 announcement saw an annual average of $10 billion in infrastructure spending.
“He’s really the first premier in quite a few years who recognized that and continually made the type of investments that Ontario needs to be a powerhouse for years to come,” said Frame.
Patrick Dillon, business manager of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario, said McGuinty has a positive legacy in a number of areas, such as education, health care and in the environment.
“I think his drive towards a province where people earned reasonable wages is also part of his legacy,” he said.
McGuinty was first elected to Queen’s Park in 1990 to represent Ottawa-South and was elected Liberal party leader in 1996. He was elected premier with a majority in October 2003 and again in October 2007, before being reduced to a minority in October 2011.
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