Horwath, Del Duca kick off campaigns; Ford unveils campaign bus
Published Saturday, April 30, 2022 7:55PM EDT
Three Ontario party leaders were busy Saturday holding campaign events as the official start of the election period drew closer.
In Etobicoke, Ontario Progressive Conservative Party Leader Doug Ford unveiled his campaign bus, the "Yes Express."
"I can't wait to get out of the bubble -- I call Queen's Park the bubble -- get around the province, from every single corner, and speak to the real people. Those are the best ideas I get when I talk to the real people," Ford said.
He touted the 2022 budget his government tabled on Thursday, reaffirming that the same spending plan will be resubmitted if his party forms government for the second time.
Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy delivered a $198.6 billion budget, which is seen as the PC's election platform. It included a pledge for tax relief for low-income workers, a cut to the gas tax, and the cost of the much-touted end to vehicle license plate sticker fees. The government also earmarked billions for infrastructure projects.
"We are saying yes to the exact same budget. It's a thoughtful budget, and it's a budget for the right time for the people of Ontario right now," Ford said.
The PC leader is set to officially commence his campaign on May 4.
In Hamilton, Ontario New Democratic Party Leader Andrea Horwath launched her campaign after formally getting the nomination for Hamilton Centre, which she has represented since 2007.
"There's only one party that can defeat Doug Ford this time. And we're asking folks to come together and achieve that job. That's job number one because the majority of people in Ontario don't want Doug Ford to have a second term," Horwath said.
"We have the best shot at unseating Doug Ford, at defeating this government. We have a very strong team."
On Saturday, the NDP also unveiled its election campaign bus.
Earlier this week, Horwath introduced her party's 92-page election platform that included accelerated pharmacare, a freeze on income tax for some residents and hiring tens of thousands of health-care and education workers.
In Woodbridge, Ontario Liberal Party Leader Steven Del Duca also kicked off his campaign during his nomination.
"We are going to guarantee that Ontario is a place, a magical place where we can grow, where we can grow together," Del Duca said.
"We're going to work as hard as we possibly can. And when we do that, the way that Ontario liberals and Ontarians know how, well, we're going to build a province that works as hard as Ontarians do. We're going to build a province that cares as much as Ontarians care and we are going to do it together."
This week, Del Duca pledged that if his party gets elected this spring, he will remove the provincial portion of the HST from prepared food purchases under $20, increase the amount low-income seniors receive from the province as a top up to federal Old Age Security payments, end for-profit long-term care and invest in home care.
The Ontario election is in June.
- with files from Chris Herhalt and The Canadian Press