Notes from the campaign trail: Leaders tour GTA
Ontario Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne, left, moves a airplanes wing up and down while touring MHI Canada Aerospace Inc., a subsidiary of Japan-based Mitsubishi Heavy Industries during a campaign in Mississauga, Ont., on Wednesday, May 16, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
George Hoff, CP24 Elections Producer
Published Wednesday, May 16, 2018 8:25PM EDT
The leaders of Ontario’s three main parties were in the GTA today. The NDP’s Andrea Horwath was in Scarborough to talk up her party’s $12 per day daycare promise. The Liberal’s Kathleen Wynne went to Mississauga to talk about all the great things the Liberal government has done for Ontario. “Building Ontario Up” was the slogan on her lectern. She said, “Ontario’s economy is one of the strongest in the world” and added, “we’ve got a good thing going.” In Oakville, Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford’s take on Ontario was far more negative. Ford says all he hears from voters is talk about “sky rocketing hydro bills, out of control taxes, lost jobs, and closed businesses.”
Back in Mississauga, Wynne was calmly talking about the businesses and jobs coming to Ontario. Her pitch is Ontario is creating an open, diverse society that is home to the best schools. The Ontario Ford sees is very different. “Our hospitals are stretched to the breaking point,” Ford said and added, “I hear your anger over corruption, scandals and mismanagement of our province.”
Wynne’s Ontario is all about creating “the kind of place where people want to live.” Over on the east side of the GTA, Horwath focused on an economy “that isn’t working for everyone” and the need to support workers dealing with what she called “a shifting economy.” Horwath said life for Ontarians has gotten harder during the 25 years of Progressive Conservative and Liberal government.
Wynne wants to build partnerships with businesses to create jobs and stresses that she is “proud” of the Liberal record. Ford’s lectern slogan today was “Put More Money in your Pocket.” Day after day his focus is on the average voter. His promise today was to cut gas prices by 10 cents a litre. He held out the prospect of gas prices hitting two dollars a litre by next summer.
Right now Ontario taxes add about 30 cents a litre to the price of gas at the pump. Trimming those taxes would have a significant impact on revenues for the government but it is doable. And what about that ominous two dollar a litre price tag for next year? A significant factor in the price of gas at the pump is the world price of oil. The cost of crude oil makes up about 40 per cent of the cost of a litre of gas in Ontario. Dan McTague watches gas prices full time at GasBuddy. He said the world price would have to rise to about $110 a gallon to drive prices up to a toonie. The reality is that any Ontario government, no matter the party, has limited options to control the price we pay at the pump.
Tomorrow at 2 p.m. nominations will close for this election. With redistribution there are 124 ridings. As of this morning the PCs had a full slate of candidates. The Liberals have nominated 122 candidates, the NDP 118 and the Green Party 97.
The Liberals held a news conference this afternoon calling on the Conservatives to drop one of their candidates before his name is locked down in the nomination process. Andrew Lawton is the PC candidate in London West. Lawton was one of 11 candidates hand-picked by Ford to run in the election. The Liberals released a series of statements Lawton made on a show he hosted on the website rebelmedia.ca. Lawton is heard disparaging blacks and Muslims. Lawton’s racist and sexist statements have been the subject of much condemnation but, so far, Ford has stood by his candidate.
This evening, the PCs did lose a candidate, not Lawton, but Simmer Sandhu running in Brampton East. Tonight, Sandhu announced his withdrawal after allegations surfaced about a theft of data at the company he worked at for the last nine years. In a statement, Sandhu said the allegations are “totally baseless,” adding that he “absolutely denies them.” The PCs said Sudeep Verma will replace Sandhu in the riding on Wednesday night.