Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

At Queen’s Park, there are two parties of big business and one party of no business. Greens are the party of small business.

Greens stand up for local job creators because they are part of what makes Kingston and The Islands a great place to live. They are vital for our community. They are our neighbours.

Beyond that, small businesses created at least 75 per cent of jobs in the last decade.

This is true in our region as it is across the province.

Think of the coffee shop down the street, the brewery on the other side of town, the tiny home manufacturer in the industrial park, the tech start-up by water or the urban farm next door.

But times are tight for the everyday entrepreneur, especially with an increase in the minimum wage. The reality is that margins are slim and new opportunities are expensive. I see this all the time in my day job working as a small business marketer.

That’s why Greens are committed to lowering payroll taxes on small business: to increase cash flow so employers can pay their employees more (a living wage, which is calculated regionally, would be  $16.58/hour in Kingston). We are the only party to do this.

The Liberals and the Conservatives have a fundamental misunderstanding of small business realities. They want to drop general taxation on small and medium businesses by one per cent. This will do almost nothing for day-to-day operations. (Blue and red teams are the parties of big business).

The NDP wants to increase payroll taxes on our favourite area stores and restaurants. This will devastate our local economy. (The orange team is the party of no business).

Greens will also spur our small businesses by redirecting government corporate support programs to the trillion-dollar cleantech sector. We want to skate where the puck is going. Not double down on industries of the past.

And finally, Greens will help small business by having an honest conversation about hydro prices. We are the only party to identify the main driver of high bills: nuclear energy. Indeed, the Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has applied for a 180 per cent rate increase to refurbish Ontario’s expired nuclear plants.

We reject that.

Family-run businesses, provincial manufacturers and, frankly, most residents, cannot afford to continue paying for expensive nuclear energy. A near triple-price increase for nuclear refurbishment would be game-over for many of the places where we like to eat and shop, and for many of the companies who build our things.

Instead, Greens would import clean, low-cost hydro at a fraction of the price of refurbishments and put the rest of the money back into energy efficiencies and retrofits. Of course that’s good for the environment but it’s also good for the economy. It would unleash a wave of good, green jobs.

So, if you’ve put out your own shingle, or know someone who has – and who doesn’t? – think long and hard about who you cast your ballot for. We need a small business champion at Queen’s Park and as your MPP, I’ll be just that!

It’s time to be bold and vote Green!