Wouldn’t it be nice if Guelph had an MPP that was part of the next provincial government? This is the pitch from current Ontario Labour Minister Monte McNaughton. The incumbent Lambton-Kent-Middlesex candidate stopped by the campaign office for Guelph Progressive Conservative nominee Peter McSherry, and both men agreed that McSherry having a spot in the next Ford government is a good idea.
“It’s important that we elect as many PC MPPs as possible, and it’s important that we get a strong stable, a PC government in Ontario after June 2nd,” McNaughton said. He touted the PCs’ “ambitious agenda” to build vital infrastructure, get more people into the skilled trades, and expanded healthcare capacity with new staff and new facilities.
But there’s one issue in particular that was on McNaughton’s mind, and given his cabinet portfolio, it shouldn’t have been surprising.
“One-in-three journey persons today is over the age of 55, and this is something that governments of all different stripes in the past have really failed to do: Promote the skilled trades as a viable career choice for young people,” McNaughton said in an interview with Guelph Politico after the meet-and-greet.
“We have an economy that’s growing, we have an aging demographic, and one of the solutions is going to be improving the immigration system and we’ve called on the Federal government to double the Immigrant Nominee Program to ensure that we can attract skilled workers here.”
McNaughton said that his issue this election is filling those open spots in the skilled trades, and the opportunities for good paying careers that those positions represent.
“My mission is getting more people into the skilled trades because I think that’s a huge opportunity, and it’s really a positive message for young people, and for people that are looking for another career,” McNaughton said. “Many of these jobs pay over $100,000 a year with a defined pension and benefits, and I think those are good careers to build a family, and build a community around.”
In terms of political needs, McNaughton again talked about his belief that Guelph needs representation in the next Ford government, if indeed Doug Ford and the PCs are returned to power in the June 2 provincial election.
“Guelph needs someone that is a member of the government caucus, and Peter’s had a 25-year [employment law] practice here serving the people in Guelph. He knows the community really well, and he will ensure that Premier Ford’s plan to rebuild Ontario is turned into action,” McNaughton said. “Having a government member in a community is really important.”
McSherry said that he was excited about the potential opportunities in a second Ford government mandate, and that he’s excited to be a part of it if Guelph voters decide to elect him. Right now though, he’s enjoying the chance to finally be out on the campaign trail with the official start of the election this past Tuesday.
“It’s really exciting to now go out and talk to people as they’re now starting to turn their minds to the campaign instead of me trying to introduce myself and trying to remind them that there’s a election coming,” McSherry said. “I’ve been really enjoying the process, getting to talk to people and find out their perspectives and people have no problem telling you exactly what they’re thinking, and that’s a great thing.”