The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Wynne takes aim at Harper government in first day of Ontario election campaign

  • Print

TORONTO - Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne started her bid for re-election on Saturday by engaging in a little fed-bashing, taking aim at Prime Minister Stephen Harper over pensions.

The campaign doesn't officially start until Wednesday but Wynne had a couple of hastily called events, which she used to attack Harper for criticizing her proposed Ontario pension plan. As the election was triggered on Friday, Harper called the pension plan — a centrepiece of the Liberals' re-election bid — a tax that won't fly with voters.

Wynne shot back Saturday, saying that if Harper isn't willing to back the retirement plan then he shouldn't interfere.

"The first choice would have been to have an improvement and enhancement to the Canada Pension Plan, but the federal government is not interested in doing that," she said.

"So quite frankly I think that if Prime Minister Harper isn't interested in partnering with us then he should move out of the way," said Wynne, repeating a refrain she used earlier this year.

Wynne called the prime minister's comments "unusual," adding she's not "in this race to run against Stephen Harper."

Wynne in turn accused the Harper government of balancing its books "on the backs of the people of Ontario" by cutting federal payments for health and social spending — a long-standing bone of contention between Wynne and the federal government.

In stark contrast to Harper's high profile comments on Friday, his office had a more muted response Saturday saying the election is for Ontario voters to decide and the federal Conservatives will work with whatever government is elected.

The province was plunged into a campaign for a June 12 election on Friday after NDP Leader Andrea Horwath announced her party would vote against the Liberal budget, saying they could no longer prop up a government plagued by scandal.

In a party event on Saturday scheduled before the election call, Horwath gave a speech full of populist notes, charging that Wynne's government isn't "grounded in the real world."

"In the real world you're adding up the bills, every single bill, at the kitchen table hoping to squeeze out some savings. At Queen's Park, public sector CEOs buy themselves speedboats with your money."

"In the real world, if you make a mistake you own up to it or face the consequences. At Queen's Park, you wipe the hard drive and hope you get away from it," she said, alluding to a police investigation into the alleged deletion of documents in the gas plants scandal.

Wynne has said no documents were deleted under her watch, adding the police allegations stem from a period before she became premier.

Tory Leader Tim Hudak kept a low-profile on Saturday.

Wynne decided not to let her government face weeks of criticism before a budget confidence vote it would lose, so she went to Lt.-Gov. David Onley and asked him to dissolve the legislature.

Wynne said she wanted to see her spending-heavy fiscal blueprint passed, and is laying responsibility for the election at the feet of the opposition parties.

Several large labour groups, including Unifor and the Ontario Federation of Labour, had urged the NDP to pass the budget and avoid an election, but public sector unions complained the fiscal plan puts jobs at risk.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union — which has been in a tough labour fight with the Liberals — said they support Horwath's call to go to the polls.

Even though Wynne asked to have the legislature dissolved on Friday, and it won't sit again until after the June 12 election, the campaign period isn't officially underway until next Wednesday.

Follow @willcampbll on Twitter

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Keri Latimer looks for beauty in the dark and the spaces between the notes

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A female Mallard duck leads a group of duckings on a morning swim through the reflections in the Assiniboine River at The Forks Monday.     (WAYNE GLOWACKI/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS) Winnipeg Free Press  June 18 2012
  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Weather standup. Sundog. Refraction of light through ice crystals which caused both the sun dog and and fog along McPhillips Road early Wednesday morning. 071205.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you like Gord Steeves’ idea to sell four city-owned golf courses to fund road renewal?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google