By Toby Barrett
There’s an old saying, ‘if you break it, you’ve bought it.’ This rings true locally, as recent government policies have disrupted our economy on our area’s sand plain and along the Grand River.
At a time of year when construction and farming should be booming, a shroud of uncertainty has been created. Last week, at a meeting of 40 Haldimand County builders, it was reported some area property values have dropped 20 per cent. To the west, sand plain tobacco farmers learned that no hope is in sight – with this year’s crop 43 per cent smaller than last.
Combined with endless rules and regulations and red tape and forms to fill out, farmers and business people of all stripes are up against an increasingly hostile government. Regrettably, this compounds the trend – closed car dealerships, shuttered downtowns, and an out migration for work.
On May 29, in the Ontario Legislature, I listed a selection of the local jobs that have been lost under our current Ontario Government. In the Norfolk area, there are at least 284 manufacturing jobs down the drain while government focuses its priorities elsewhere.
In recent years, communities along the Grand River saw impressive growth – economically, and in population. Now, due to the threat of illegal land seizures, construction crews are a rare sight within six miles of the Grand. With no evidence of a government plan to deal with land seizures and occupations, construction crews – and their economic spin-offs – are largely looking elsewhere.
In addition to the failed approach to illegal land seizures, area residents continue to worry about Premier McGuinty’s promise to throw 600 people out of work at OPG Nanticoke. I frequently hear people asking why government would take another 600 jobs, after watching economic development slide to a halt.