Politics
ON election would derail economy: minister

Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Innovation Brad Duguid during a press conference at the General Motors plant in Oshawa on Friday December 16, 2011.

Credits: TORONTO SUN / Ernest Doroszuk QMI AGENCY.

JONATHAN JENKINS | QMI AGENCY

TORONTO -- Employment rose unexpectedly last month, but more economic good news could be derailed if the opposition forces an election, Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid said Thursday.

"Our economy is still a little fragile," Duguid said after Statistics Canada reported Ontario created 46,000 mostly full-time jobs in March.

"It's absolutely the wrong time for the opposition to force an election. Our focus as MPPs should be on creating jobs for Ontarians, not out campaigning to protect our own jobs in an unnecessary election."

Economists were not expecting much in the way of jobs growth; instead, Ontario's unemployment rate dropped 0.2% to 7.4%.
"You do get a sense of a growing momentum in the economy now," Duguid said.

"We see the U.S. economy starting to come up, so there's reason for optimism. That's why it's important that we maintain stability here at Queen's Park and support a budget that's going to get our books in balance."

Queen's Park will vote on the provincial budget sometime before the end of April. If the governing Liberals do not attract at least one vote -- or two abstentions -- from the opposition, the government will fall.

Progressive Conservative MPP Monte McNaughton said despite the uptick in March, the province still has a higher unemployment rate than the national average and is also expecting to lag behind the rest of the country in economic growth for the short term.

"Clearly this reiterates our position that the budget just does nothing when it comes to jobs," McNaughton said.

He also said the budget plan to cancel scheduled corporate tax cuts -- at the New Democratic Party's request -- will harm job creation and economic growth.

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