The obvious answer would be yes, but for Dalton McGuinty and the Liberals, the issue is not so simple.
Tim Hudak and the Ontario PC Party have put forward a proposal to change Ontario's apprenticeship system, which currently limits the number of apprentices who can find jobs by setting artificially high journeyman:apprentice ratios. For some skilled trades, businesses must employ five seasoned journeymen to train one apprentice. Almost every other province has moved away from this 1970's era system, as have countries around the world, and the results are staggering. Ontario now produces 46% fewer skilled trades people per capita than the rest of Canada. Despite over 500,000 unemployed in Ontario, we have a major labour shortage in the skilled trades.
But McGuinty and his union bosses have no problem with that major labour shortage. Because of the labour shortage, wages are artificially sky high and work is guaranteed for the unions. If young people are trying to find an apprenticeship, the only people they can turn to are the union bosses. As a result, the unions have a stranglehold over the skilled trades sector - and after running a multimillion dollar attack ad campaign against Tim Hudak and the PCs in the last election, the Liberals owe them.
Ending the union monopoly would create 200,000 jobs in four years. It would drive down construction costs - not just for the private sector, but for the government's multi-billion dollar infrastructure spending. And all it requires is a minor regulatory change. Yet Dalton McGuinty continues to sit on his hands, bought and paid for by his union bosses.
It's time to get tough on union bosses. Tim Hudak proposed strong measures during the election, but they seemingly went ignored by the media, and sadly, conservative voters. If the union bosses can convince the Liberals that creating 200,000 jobs for young workers is a bad idea, it's time we all started paying a little more attention.