Toronto: Both the Progressive Conservatives and the Liberals set their sights on the NDP on Tuesday as new polls suggest the party is tied for the most support in the Ontario election.
Premier Kathleen Wynne, whose Liberals have fallen to third place in recent polls, appeared to concede that it is not going as well as she might have hoped for her party, which has been in power for 15 years.
“I’m not under any illusion that this is not a challenging election for us,” she said during a campaign stop in Toronto.
“I absolutely get that…It’s a really, really important election for this province because it is an election about what our province is going to look like going forward.”
Two recent polls suggest that the NDP now has the most support in the election, along with the Progressive Conservatives.
“It’s pretty clear that people have decided Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals are not going to form government next time around,” said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. “On June 7 there will be a new premier in the premier’s chair. The decision folks have to make at this point is: is that going to be Doug Ford or me?”
Ford similarly framed the choice facing voters.
“People are going to have a very clear, very clear choice,” he said. “When it comes to June 7 they’re either going to vote in a radical NDP…or they can vote for a Doug Ford PC government.”
The Liberals began the day by attacking what they call an “irrational” plan by the NDP to start decommissioning the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station this year. The long-term energy plan released by the Liberal government last year has Pickering operating until 2024, and they say shutting it down this year would put Ontario’s energy supply and the production of medical isotopes at risk.
Horwath said all parties agree the plant can’t operate forever.
“The difference is, we will begin the decommissioning process immediately, which will bring more jobs to the area, as opposed to the Liberal plan, which is to mothball that facility for 30 years and allow the next generation to figure out the decommissioning,” she said. “We are listening to and paying attention to the experts that are going through that process right now on the current licence and when the closure happens we will tackle the decommissioning immediately.”
Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford used his main campaign event of the day to announce that a Tory government would keep Pickering open until 2024.
The Tories also held a separate news conference with two candidates to accuse the New Democrats of having several “radical” candidates, including Sept. 11 conspiracy theorists and a woman who is against wearing a poppy on Remembrance Day.
“Five NDP candidates…have radical and extreme views that do not reflect the people of Ontario,” said long-time Tory legislator Lisa MacLeod. “I think it’s important that we recognize that Andrea Horwath has, for too long, just shrugged off any transparency and accountability on some of these candidates.”
The Liberals are also continuing to hammer the NDP on their platform funding, after leader Andrea Horwath admitted over the weekend that an error would leave them with a deficit that’s $1.4 billion larger than originally planned.