Here’s our daily look at what’s making news in the lead-up to the next provincial election.
Update: 11 a.m.
- Ford promised this morning that as premier he would scrap Ontario’s cap-and-trade plan and “use every resource at its disposal” to fight the federal government’s plan to charge a tax in provinces that don’t have a carbon-pricing regime in place. “The people will not be fooled, they see right through the carbon tax,” Ford said at a gas station in Caledon. "They know it’s just another Liberal scheme to put the government’s hand in your pocket.” The PCs say that eliminating cap-and-trade would save drivers 4.3 cents a litre at the gas pump. The party did not say how it plans to compensate companies that have already bought hundreds of millions of dollars in cap-and-trade allowances.
- The Progressive Conservatives have asked Elections Ontario to look into whether the Liberals are abusing the law by campaigning on the taxpayers’ dime. Former Tory MPP Frank Klees says that in the past three weeks, cabinet ministers have made almost 40 campaign-style announcements. Klees estimates each event costs about $7,500 to stage, for a total of nearly $300,000 of taxpayer money spent on promoting Liberal policies. “This is a government so desperate that they will stoop to never-before-seen lows,” Klees said in a statement. The Liberals have responded by stating that cabinet ministers from governments of every party have held events to communicate spending priorities — including Klees, who as a Tory minister made “a major funding announcement” in 2003, one day before an election was called. The Liberals also issued a statement that Elections Ontario “must investigate any claim no matter how absurd and groundless. By way of comparison, we will soon be sharing evidence with Elections Ontario of genuine misconduct on the part of the Conservatives and look forward to that investigation.”
- Tory leader Doug Ford this weekend appointed 11 candidates to run for the party. In some cases, party members who had been planning for months to run for the nomination in their riding were suddenly told that there would be no vote and that the party had chosen to name someone else. Ford has blasted former PC leader Patrick Brown for interfering in local nomination races. “I can assure you moving forward every single riding nomination is going to be 100 per cent transparent — no little games, no backroom deals, no favourites to the leader are going to be put in there. It’s going to be the best person wins,” Ford told Queen’s Park Briefing in February. Local school trustee Jake Skinner said he had been campaigning for the Tory nomination in London West for two years and was profoundly disappointed to hear that the party had instead appointed media personality Andrew Lawton, who only announced he was seeking the nomination on April 11. Skinner called Ford’s move “a brazen abuse of power.”
- One of Ford’s appointments is Mike Harris, Jr., son of former Ontario premier Mike Harris, who will now attempt to succeed current Tory MPP Michael Harris (no relation). Mike Harris, Jr. had failed in his bid to secure the PC nomination in Waterloo but will now carry the Tory banner in Kitchener–Conestoga.
- Tanya Granic Allen, the social conservative activist who ran in the PC leadership race Ford won, secured the party’s nomination for Mississauga Centre against three other contenders on Saturday. Allen impressed many with her debate performances during the leadership contest, but she has also made several controversial statements over the years, including: “Looking for a scapegoat for declining school enrollment in Toronto? How about abortion.”
- The Liberals seem to be having nomination problems of their own: the CBC reports that only three out of 10 ridings in southwestern Ontario have Liberal candidates in place — even though the election is less than two months away. Queen’s Park analyst Robert Fisher says prospective candidates are being scared off by polls showing the PCs with a substantial lead. One local Liberal official said he’s confident his riding will have a candidate in place for the election, while another said there may be delays because the party is vetting potential candidates more closely than it has done in the past.
- A University of Toronto professor is calling the NDP’s daycare plan “completely unrealistic.” Gordon Cleveland, who advised the Liberal government on its plan to offer free child care for children between two and a half years old and kindergarten age, says the New Democrats’ promise to heavily subsidize daycare from infancy to kindergarten age would flood the existing child-care infrastructure, leading to “huge space shortages and long waiting lists.”
- This is the first provincial election in which more millennials will be eligible to vote than baby boomers. And while the PCs lead among Gen-Xers and baby boomers, polling by OnPulse finds that they’re in third place among the youngest cohort of voters.
What to watch for
- Wynne delivers a keynote address at a Canadian Club luncheon at 12:30 p.m. At 2:30 p.m., she will be at Queen’s Park to participate in a Vaisakhi Prayer, which is part of the Sikh faith.
- Ford will make an announcement at Dost Petroleum in Caledon at 9:30 a.m. this morning.
- Does Ontario’s left have the right plan? Watch Steve Paikin discuss the New Democrats’ recently released campaign platform with former NDP MP Peggy Nash and the Toronto Star’s Rob Benzie.
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