Thompson Opposes Trades Tax in Ontario Legislature

(Queen’s Park)—Today Lisa Thompson, MPP (Huron-Bruce) spoken passionately in the Legislature about how the imposed tax on skilled tradespeople will negatively affect businesses and tradespeople in Huron-Bruce.

Below is Thompson’s transcript from the Legislature today, as a PC Opposition Day Motion called for the abolishment of the College of Trades—imposing a trades tax on tens of thousands of tradespeople from electricians to hairdressers:

I proudly stand here today as a member of the only party in this House that is indeed standing up for the interests of our skilled trades behind us.

This is hogwash. I am disgusted and I’m disheartened by the ill-advised coalition that we’ve seen form in front of our eyes this afternoon. It’s absolutely disgusting. How much consultation has happened here?

I have to thank Garfield Dunlop, who has spent 15 months travelling this province. He has listened to so many people. We know what’s going on—we know what matters most. Garfield came into my riding of Huron–Bruce last July. He visited with Joe Kerr Construction in Wingham and JMR Electric in Exeter. Most recently, last week, in a snowstorm, he travelled to Walkerton, to Huron Tractor.

Time and time again, Garfield gets it because he relates to the people and he understands what the issues are. This coalition is absolutely off base, and we need to start listening to the people, because guess what? This College of Trades is not necessary, nor is it wanted.

When I speak to Glenn Hayes, an electrician from Teeswater—at Hayes Electric—he is an employer of upwards of 20 people in a small village in my riding. He, time and time again says, “This government” and now sadly enough the third party is falling right in line with them, “is doing nothing but setting up hurdle after hurdle for small business. They’re doing nothing but driving our most valuable resources out of this province.” In that regard, he was citing the number of young people that are leaving our communities and heading west.

This is absolutely not acceptable. I also think about the Reinhardt family that Garfield and I met at Huron Tractor in Walkerton. Mr. Reinhardt is a mechanic at Huron Tractor. He’s very proud of his wife who’s an electrician. And guess what? They’re going to get the Wynne double whammy. Because of the number of licences the two of them hold, they’re going to be taxed over and over again on their skills. This is unacceptable.

I also can’t help but reference the College of Trades. I went on the website at lunchtime today. I took a look at their Q and As, specifically to memberships. I find it interesting because sadly enough there are a lot of people playing word games in this particular House. You know, it was referenced that as membership in the college is not required for employers, each employer can determine whether or not they wish to join the college at this time. Conspicuous by its absence is the fact that as of January 1, there’s going to be a mandatory tax per employee. I can tell you, employers like JMR Electric out of Exeter, who employs 225 people in that town—he is going to short circuit.

I have to ask again: How much consultation has really happened here? Do you really understand the negative impact that this is going to have on our small business across this province? You know what? It’s totally unacceptable. In my riding of Huron–Bruce, which I’m so proud to represent, more and more people get nervous and they get their guard up when they hear that the Premier wants to continue to reach out, because sadly enough, they’ve concluded the only reaching that the Premier wants to do is into their pockets to take the scarce dollars that they have left. It’s totally unacceptable. Once again: This College of Trades is not wanted nor needed.

Thank you.

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