Notes from the campaign trail: May 7, 2014
George Hoff, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, May 7, 2014 4:40PM EDT
It wasn’t the picture the Liberals wanted to see on day one of the formal campaign. Those aerial shots from CTV’s helicopter showing the demolition of the Mississauga gas plant put the spotlight right where the Liberals didn’t want it.
The opposition parties want you to never forget the money wasted there and the alleged cover up around the decision made during that last election. It’s a vivid reminder of one of their key themes - the Liberal government can’t be trusted with your tax dollars.
And so both the Progressive Conservatives and the NDP jumped at the opportunity. The PCs released a letter to the Ontario Provincial Police providing additional information on the gas plant investigation. The PCs followed that up by having MPP Lisa MacLeod do interviews about the information in the letter. MacLeod promised again that, if elected, a PC government will launch a full judicial inquiry about the decision to shut down the plants. The NDP leader Andrea Horwath made sure she also talked about the alleged cover up on the closing of the gas plant. She said, “At Queen’s Park you can wipe a hard drive and get away with it. After 10 years of scandal after scandal.” Horwath said it was time for the Liberals to take a “time out.” Nothing new in any of that She has said it all before, many times in those exact words.
The Liberals got Kathleen Wynne out of Toronto and had her running, literally, in Kitchener early this morning. The Liberal are pushing the active, on the go leader and these photo ops are a good reminder to all those Wynne ads running during the hockey games.
Watch for Wynne to keep coming back to Kitchener. In the 2011 election the Liberals won a squeaker here, just a 300 vote margin, against the Progressive Conservatives and this time around the Liberal MPP, John Milloy, is not running. The PCs countered by bringing back Wayne Wettlaufer, the man who held the seat 20 years ago. That name recognition might be important in a close race. It’s a riding the Liberals need to hold to stay in government.
Wynne turned her attention to jobs using the high tech Kitchener region to jab at Hudak’s “million job” promise. She said the PCs are only going to deliver low paying jobs and not the high tech jobs that are needed in the province. Meanwhile, in fact at the same time, Hudak was in Durham talking again about his “positive, optimistic vision” and his focus on “getting the economy going.” I’ve lost track of how many times a PC photo op features Hudak with a hard hat on as he stops at factory after factory. Wednesday afternoon featured another factory stop in Brantford.
At Queen’s Park Horwath unveiled the NDP bus (the only one with a big picture of the leader) and presented a laundry list of NDP promises and then the daily zinger against the Liberals saying, “I have no confidence in the word of the liberals.” She then followed Wynne to Kitchener for a stop before moving on to Niagara. During her stop in the Kitchener Horwath said, “There's an opportunity to engage the business sector in being a partner with the building of transit." After three days of NDP claims about privatizing the TTC it was just too good for the Liberals. Liberal MPP Glen Murray jumped all over it, “I know reporters are confused about Andrea Horwath’s transit policies and frankly, so is she.” A quick call to the NDP about what Horwath meant got me this clarification: The NDP plan is to have a “modest increase in the corporate tax rate” to help pay for transit.
Kitchener-Centre is just one of six ridings where the Liberal MPP is not running. With a razor thin minority government defending those seats will be one of the key to Liberal fortunes this time. Kitchener is a close one but so is Sudbury. There it’s the NDP snapping at the Liberals heels. Last time the NDP came within 500 votes so it too will be one to watch. The two open GTA ridings are in Etobicoke and Brampton.
The PCs have two MPPs not running, Frank Klees and John O’Toole, but both seem to be in safe seats. All 21 NDP members are running again. It gives both a slight edge. It’s usually a lot easier to hold a seat then to steal one.