May 25, 2014 10:00 am

Privatizing Toronto’s public transit an option if it would ease gridlock: Hudak

Above: Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak tells Tom Clark he would be OK with a private company running public transit if they can provide better value and defends his eight-year million jobs plan.

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Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak says he’s going to fix gridlock in the GTA and he’s prepared to privatize the public transit system if that’s what it takes. “Sure. Absolutely. Whoever can deliver the best quality,” said Hudak in an interview with Tom Clark on The West Block. “If somebody, Bombardier or others, can give us better quality at a better price, I’d like to take that deal and I’m sure most people would too.”

READ MORE: Liberals, NDP attack PC plan to cut jobs while Hudak focuses on Transit

Hudak pointed to GO Transit as a positive example, calling it “a strength in our system” since the Liberals contracted service on six of seven GO rail lines to Bombardier in 2007.

The change has improved service, including timeliness, according to GO Transit.

The Progressive Conservative platform includes a pledge to put the province in charge of all rail-based transit and major highways in the GTA.

The province, under Hudak, would then look to encourage new forms of investment in the system.

“Private sector investment, pension investment – that will build more subways and expand GO services and it will help create jobs.”

Hudak focuses on private sector job creation and debt reduction

Creating jobs is what Hudak’s campaign is all about – centring on his promise to create one million jobs over eight years.

Hudak says this promise will be achieved in part by reducing corporate tax rates from 11.5 to eight per cent, creating exactly 119,808 jobs. While the number seems unusually specific, Hudak says it was generated by an independent economist using data from the Conference Board of Canada. Despite that, he couldn’t say exactly what those jobs will be.

READ MORE: Ontario election: Okay, really – can politicians create jobs?

Tax reductions are a tried and tested method, according to Hudak who dispels the idea that corporations hold on to money from tax cuts rather than creating jobs. He noted that under the Mike Harris PC government of the 1990’s, taxes were lowered and jobs were created.

“These are ideas that I know in my heart are going to work,” said Hudak. “Lower taxes create jobs. More affordable energy means more jobs. Higher energy means we lose jobs.”

But the Ontario PC plan won’t be fully realized for eight years; governments are only elected for four years at a time.

When asked if he is really asking voters to give him two mandates to realize his goals Hudak said he is just thinking long term.

“We need to do something to create jobs to say to our young people in the province of Ontario, ‘stay home.’ Those watching The West Block in Alberta and Saskatchewan that used to be from Ontario, send the message, ‘I want you to come home.’ This could be the place you’re going to get the best possible job or start that business.”

© Shaw Media, 2014

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