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Introduction to Premier Kathleen Wynne

November 4, 2016
Ontario Economic Summit
Carol Wilding, FCPA, FCA
President and CEO, CPA Ontario

 Thank you, hello everyone.

It’s my honour today to introduce the Premier of Ontario.

While the Premier’s attendance here today is no surprise, I quickly want to share a story that I read about a surprise visit the Premier paid to a small group in Orangeville last week.

Every year Sandbox Tech, a local childcare centre, hosts an annual Family Literacy Night where families are invited to come and read together while dressed in their pajamas. 

Can you imagine the looks on people’s faces when Grandma Kathleen Wynne arrives, in her pajamas, to spend the night reading to her grandchildren?

What a great experience it must have been for you!

One, because I was curious what the Premier would be wearing today…

and two, because I think it serves as an important reminder that all of our political leaders are real people with real families and experiences.  

We all need to recognize that and thank them for their service and, at times, sacrifices.

But, while it’s important to remember the person in the role, it’s also necessary to remember the importance of the role they play.

As Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne’s work and the challenges that come with it matter more than ever today.

I don’t need to tell you, that we are standing at the heart of one the leading economic and financial hubs in North America.

The GTA and the Golden Horseshoe is not only home to some nine million people, but is:

The second largest financial centre on the continent

  • An internationally renowned mining hub
  • A manufacturing powerhouse in everything from agri-food to automotive

 And how we fare here has a significant impact on the fortunes of the entire province, and indeed, the country as a whole.

I recently attended the Annual Economic Outlook, sponsored by CPA Ontario, where the economists from the country’s leading banks gave their forecasts for the coming year.

The consensus was that BC and Ontario would lead the country in economic growth, thanks in part to a competitive dollar, lower oil prices and a strong real estate sector. 

This is welcome news following the dark days of the financial crisis, skyrocketing oil prices and a loonie at par with the US greenback, which hollowed out large swathes of our manufacturing sector. 

There is definitely much to be excited about in Ontario these days – from new automotive investments from GM and Honda, to the buzz around the Toronto-Waterloo tech corridor.

But real challenges remain –

  • from rising hydro costs that put a crimp on competitiveness and people’s pocketbooks,
  • to high youth unemployment,
  • and our aging infrastructure.

And then there are the unknowns around the new administration of Donald Trump, who will be sworn in tomorrow as the 45th President of the United States. 

The US is by far Ontario’s largest trading partner and how President Trump’s “America First” policies affect Ontario is perhaps the single biggest question mark hanging over the province.

So, against that backdrop, we look forward to hearing from the Premier about her priorities and plans as we start the new year. 

Please join me in giving a very warm welcome to Ontario’s Premier – Kathleen Wynne.