Open Letter: Standing Up for Small Business in Northwestern Ontario

The below letter was sent to small businesses in Kenora—Rainy River on June 12, 2017. 

Dear Sir/Madam:

I am a candidate for the Ontario PC Party nomination in Kenora—Rainy River. I am running to be your next MPP because I believe that our region is overdue to have a strong, effective voice in government, and needs a representative that understands the needs of its small businesses. Every day since I launched my campaign, I have heard from area residents who tell me they are ready for change, and that they share the PC vision of a forward-thinking, fiscally responsible government.

Bettys of Fort Frances

I am writing you today because a number of businesspeople have reached out and expressed concerns about the Wynne Liberals’ plan to increase their labour costs – right on the heels of jacking up their hydro bills and regulatory burden. Among the proposed changes, the Wynne Liberals are planning to impose a huge increase to the minimum wage. Make no mistake: this is blatant vote-buying by a desperate, scandal-plagued government.

Just four months ago, Kathleen Wynne was asked about the minimum wage and she dismissed the idea – stating that “we’ve got a really good process… that actually depoliticizes the increases to the minimum wage.” Fast forward to the present, and she is doing precisely that – politicizing the minimum wage because she is afraid of losing the next election.

Let me be clear: employees should be compensated fairly for their work. But increasing the minimum wage to $15 by 2019 will amount to a 32% increase in labour costs in just 18 months. Businesses – and especially small businesses that tend to operate on smaller margins – simply do not have sufficient time to adjust.

The effect of this ill-advised policy cannot be understated – it will cost jobs, and will cause businesses to go under or find ways to raise prices.  Although there is some historical evidence that minimum wage increases do not lead to job losses in the long run, we are currently living in an era of unprecedented automation, with globalized competition from web-based retailers and other services that are not subject to the same overhead or Ontario red tape. We also know that the sort of macro-level analysis that says higher labour costs do not lead to job losses do not accurately reflect the economics of small business in our region.

In short: The Wynne Liberals care more about winning the next election and protecting their own jobs than they do about building up the local economy in places like Northwestern Ontario. The ineffective NDP is standing by with their rubber-stamp.

My family has worked in trucking, logging, farming, tourism, and hospitality for decades. They’re proud of their companies and their contributions to the local economy. Like you, they aren’t looking to run unsafe equipment or workplaces, cheat on paying their fair share of taxes, or shortchange their employees. They simply want a government that respects their entrepreneurship, and lets them focus on running a business that creates jobs and builds up their community – not on doing the government’s homework.

I am running to put a stop to a government that doesn’t care about the cost and regulatory burden it has put on businesses in our riding – whether through workplace regulations or skyrocketing hydro prices. I believe that in 2017, government services and regulatory compliance can – and should – be more streamlined, intuitive, efficient, and responsive to business needs. To that end, I will stand up for minimum wage increases that are reasonable, and phased in appropriately.

With your support and ideas, we can make sure that Patrick Brown and the Ontario PCs will form a new government after the election in June 2018. Although this election is still a year away, I am working hard to speak with as many business owners, local residents, and community leaders as possible. I would love to hear from you, and to hear your concerns and thoughts on the minimum wage and other provincial government issues. Please feel free to contact me at 807-861-3684 or


Douglas Judson
Ontario P.C. Nomination Candidate
Kenora—Rainy River

A PDF version of this letter can be viewed here.

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