Global News Queen’s Park Bureau Chief Alan Carter sat down with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne on Thursday.
They spoke about pension reform, pipelines, gas plants and who should be the mayor of Toronto.
Below is a transcript of the interview.
Alan Carter: In terms of pension reform, do you think Ontario is prepared to pay more for an Ontario led pension fund?
Kathleen Wynne: So here’s how I see the pension file and I’m happy to be able go out and talk to Greg Salinger in Manitoba and Allison Redford in Alberta because this is a national issue. There is no jurisdiction in the country where people are saving enough whether it’s a fully employed jurisdiction or not, there is no place in the country where people are saving enough.
So we need to find a way to bring the federal government into this discussion. Our absolute first choice is to have an enhancement to the CPP.
AC: If you can’t get that, would you go it yourself and do it in Ontario?
KW: If at the end of that, if there’s is no hope for the federal government to take up what I believe is its responsibility. Then it’s only responsible for me as the premier of Ontario, knowing that people in Ontario are not secure in their future, in their retirement, its only responsible for me to have a back-up plan, to have an understanding of what the implications would be of an Ontario plan. That is my responsibility but it’s not our first choice.
Pipelines and a national energy strategy
AC: Do you believe Alberta has the kind of record that would allow them to lead the way on a pipeline that comes through Ontario?
KW: Right and I am very clear that environmental protections and consideration in relationship with First Nations are the priority and that’s the discussion I’ll be having with premier Redford. Having said that, we are entwined, our fate, our economy is connected to the economy of Alberta. There are companies in Ontario that supply the economy in Alberta, so we have to find a way to work together. Having a national energy strategy is very important to me as it is to Alberta. So I’m looking forward to the discussion with premier Redford.
AC: Would you do the same thing as Christy Clark has done, come to the table with a list of requirements before you would move forward with that pipeline?
KW: No, my requirements are that we have the environmental protections in place and the relationships with first nations are respected and there is adequate consultation. So I’m quite clear that there is mutual benefits to a national energy strategy to Ontario and Alberta.
AC: Are you concerned about the optics of a fundraiser for the liberal party just on the eve of an announcement that you would not build nuclear plants?
KW: There is no connection there. We as a part, as all the parties meet with and have fundraising events with people across the spectrum, across the societal spectrum, there are lots of discussions, there is no connection there. As the minister said, there’s more of a brainstorming environment in those meetings.
Cancelled gas plants
AC: Are you concerned that there is more to the money that has gone to TCE than just political expediency, that there may be a criminal element?
KW: I think all of the information is available now. That’s why I asked the auditor general to look at the situation in Oakville. I think that we know now, I think that everyone knows, how those decisions were made. There has been many, many hours of deputations at committee, there’s been thousands of documents that have gone, I think the information is available and that’s been my commitment. To open up the process and make the information available and that’s what we’ve done.
AC: Where is the accountability there, if this was the private sector would a CEO still have a job if the shareholders found out?
KW: Well the people who were making those decisions are not here. They are no longer in office, they are no longer part of this government. So those changes have happened. We’ve talked about the process and we’ve said that having a better process going forward is imperative and that’s what we’re putting in place.
AC: The accusation that you’re all talk and no action, do you worry that will stick to your government when we come to an election?
KW: We’re making decisions, we’re implementing decisions, we’re creating jobs for young people. We’re putting in place supports for communities, we’re repairing bridges and building roads. And so I know that it is very important for government to get the advice of people who are on the front line, who area experts, in order to implement. From my perspective, talking to people is about making decisions that we can then implement, that’s what we’re doing.
Toronto’s 2014 Election
AC: Should John Tory run for mayor of Toronto?
KW: You know what, my friend John Tory is going to have to make that decision himself.
AC: Would you like to see John Tory as mayor of Toronto?
KW: I think John Tory is a very capable politician and I think that whatever he decides to do, whether he stays in the private sector or moves back into the public sector, he will make a huge contribution.
AC: Would it make things easier for you in terms of relationships between municipal and provincial?
KW: I’m not going to comment on that. I will continue to work with municipal leaders whoever they are.
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