What Doug Ford’s renewed majority means for the innovation economy

Content of the article

OTTAWA — The Ontario Progressive Conservatives led by Premier Doug Ford won a larger majority for a second term Thursday night. Several economists have said The logic victory will give the Conservatives leeway for the next four years, if they know what to do with it in a very difficult world.

Subject of discussion

Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives won more seats Thursday night than when they were first elected in 2018, giving them all the freedom a government could want to face big challenges. Ontario has plenty, from housing to the cost of living, to anemic productivity and the growing gap between Bay Street and service workers.

Advertisement 2

Content of the article

“We face an economic environment where many factors that will have a significant impact on Ontario’s economy are beyond provincial control,” said Sheila Block, senior economist at the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives.

Supply chain issues, inflation and aging populations – governments have to deal with them, but no government can solve them, she said.

Content of the article

“In some ways, it’s going to be a lot harder to govern — from an economic policy perspective, because that’s my perspective — than it has been in the past four years. And I realize how much of a statement that is,” Block said. “I think what we know about the Ford government’s plans, which were in the budget, doesn’t match the complexity of what they’re going to have to deal with.”

Advertisement 3

Content of the article

Conclusion: What Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives need to watch out for

“With any majority government, we worry about the lack of collaboration.” Doug Ford’s victory speech was about everyone working together for Ontario. “I really hope he and his government stick to that rhetoric and philosophy because, quite frankly, there’s no monopoly on good ideas.”
Alanna Sokic, Canadian Council of Innovators

“The lack of long-term planning. Back to what Ford said…say “yes” to everything. If you’re constantly chasing the shiny new item, this can be a bit of a problem.
Mike Moffatt, Smart Prosperity Institute

“Understand the role of the public sector in a well-functioning economy and understand the role of the public sector in economic activity, economic security and growth, and the requirements in this regard.”
Sheila Block, Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives

“I fear they will fall back on the traditional production economy – ‘We will build roads and bridges for people and everything will be fine. “”
Robert Asselin, Business Council of Canada

Advertisement 4

Content of the article

Mike Moffatt, senior director of policy and innovation at the University of Ottawa’s Smart Prosperity Institute, pointed to the policy challenges posed by inflation as a particular problem for players in the economy. of innovation. This is particularly evident with the housing cost.

“The Kitchener-Waterloo-Toronto ecosystem has always paid less than similar clusters in the United States, but [it has] also been associated with a lower cost of living,” Moffatt said. “Well, now with the advent of more working from home, it will be more difficult, I think, for Canadian companies to retain Canadian talent, partly because they can simply be hired by American companies who pay more.”

The Progressive Conservatives have at least recognized there is a problem. They promised major reforms to the rules on real estate development in Ontario, with new sets of measures every year.

Advertisement 5

Content of the article

“I’m cautiously optimistic that the size of this mandate will hopefully allow the government to be a little bolder and say, ‘Look, we have this people’s mandate’, so they can push the municipalities a little harder than they would otherwise,” Moffatt said.

People who directly advocate for companies are concerned with more specific issues.

” There’s not too much [that’s] campaign in terms of policy proposals for innovation, or what I call cutting-edge industries,” said Robert Asselin, senior vice-president of policy for the Business Council of Canada.

Over the past four years, however, it has been encouraged by initiatives such as the creation of an intellectual property agency. “The glass is half empty, but I wouldn’t assume that this government will do nothing,” Asselin said.

Advertising 6

Content of the article

It must focus on the economy of the future, he said. The 2022 budget which served as their platform was titled “Ontario’s Plan to Build” and featured a photo of about a dozen lanes of Highway 401 on the cover. As important as physical infrastructure is, Asselin said it’s not the foundation of a 21st century research and innovation-driven economy.

Block expressed a similar concern in a different way: Conservatives are focused on building, but a new hospital needs people to work there, she said. “The emphasis on, you can kind of call it ‘the male economy’ rather than ‘the care economy’, will undermine some of the efforts…because it will be harder to attract people if you don’t have good health care here.”

The same applies to direct aid to industry. Asselin said pumping money into the auto sector meant factories and jobs, but not necessarily the optimal kind of growth.

Advertising 7

Content of the article

“We have to take the next step,” he said. “What are we adding to the value chain? Making parts and putting them together isn’t as valuable as designing and making better batteries for electric vehicles, he said.

There is potential that re-elected Conservatives should tap into, agreed Alanna Sokic, who deals with the Ontario government for the Council of Canadian Innovators; build the province’s ability to design and manufacture new things, especially by fulfilling gaps in electric vehicle supply chainswould help protect the auto industry from global upheaval.

“We have big players on the ground in the automotive sector who are struggling to make inroads, as this government directs and announces investments of LG and Stellantide and all these foreign players, when we have these people who are more or less doing that here,” she said.

Advertising 8

Content of the article

Beyond the automotive sector, said Sokic The logic the Progressive Conservatives have started working on a lot of encouraging things, from the intellectual property agency that Asselin talks about to data protection standards to modernizing public procurement.

“Where we really need to work [in] a second term is doing a lot of those things,” she said. “I think these initiatives were on the political agenda. They have been announced. But I don’t think we really saw the execution and implementation that the innovation ecosystem was looking for.

A digital ID program replacing physical cards such as driving licenses, which was planned for the end of 2021 but postponed to this year, is an example of this. “And we’re sitting here a day after the election, and we still don’t have any news about it,” Sokic said.

It’s one thing, but it’s representative, she says, and that complicates the challenge when Ontario businesses compete with other provinces and other countries. “When we modernize government and modernize our civil society, it just creates a more attractive environment to attract talent.”

This section is powered by The logic. The Logic is Canada’s leading technology and business newsroom. For more news, visit thelogic.co.

Advertisement 1


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively yet civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to be moderated before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications. You will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, if there is an update to a comment thread you follow, or if a user follows you comments. Visit our Community Rules for more information and details on how to adjust your E-mail settings.

Comments are closed.