COLUMN: Jobs are the real issue in Cornwall and SD&G

MORRISBURG — In Cornwall and the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, no issue is as important during this Federal Election than jobs. Not just jobs, but local jobs in Cornwall and SD&G. To say it is any other issue does a disservice to the voters in the area.

In the last 25 years there has been a massive shift in the region with good paying manufacturing jobs leaving, replaced with jobs in customer service, logistics, and retail. There is nothing wrong with the aforementioned replacements as jobs, however the wages they provide are significantly lower than the jobs that have left. Replacing $25.00 per hour jobs with minimum wage jobs creates a false number when it comes to the health of the job market. That has led to an imbalance in the job market, a wage disparity that holds back growth and opportunity in the area.

Looking at all four national party campaigns, all have job strategies mostly surrounding infrastructure spending. Infrastructure spending sounds great at first, until you realize we have a shortage of trades in the region. By the time people looking for work have received education in the trades, the infrastructure spending will be over. Infrastructure spending also does not create long-term permanent jobs. It creates a job based on the project, when the project is over, so too is the job. Infrastructure spending is not the end-all, be-all of job creation.

None of the political parties address job creation in a meaningful way, and none of the candidates in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry address it on a local level. It needs to be addressed. What are the local candidates strategies for bringing in business, bringing in or growing jobs. Not just the party line, candidates need to state what they are going to do in the riding. How will those candidates be able to live up to their commitments? Especially if we find ourselves in a minority government situation on the morning of October 20th, and our elected member of Parliament may not be on the government side of the house. What are they going to do for the riding if in that situation? How will they be accountable if they fail?

It is risky for someone running for office to make specific promises about specific companies similar to then Liberal MPP Jim Brownell’s promise in 2007 of 500 jobs from Liquiforce coming to the region. That type of promise is not what is being asked for. What are the candidate going to do to get jobs here, that is the question.

The status quo in Cornwall and the counties is not sustainable. Replacing good paying jobs with minimum wage jobs  is not healthy job creation. It is time that each of the local candidates stand up and say how they are going to address the job issues in the riding, and what they are going to do about it if elected. Talking about anything else is just a waste of voters time.

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