Here’s our daily look at what’s making news on the Ontario campaign trail.
- The Liberals and the NDP are arguing over whether the New Democrats’ platform contains an accounting error that translates into billions of dollars in service cuts. Charles Sousa, finance minister and candidate for Mississauga South, said the NDP used old budget numbers and neglected to include programs the government has enacted since then. “It means they are not just eliminating our future program commitments; it means they are also eliminating existing programs,” Sousa said.
- The Green Party has released its campaign platform, titled “People Powered Change.” The document includes promises to spend $4.18 billion over four years on grants and interest-free loans for individuals and businesses looking to invest in energy conservation, to provide a basic income guarantee for all Ontarians, and to cancel the government’s Fair Hydro Plan.
- NDP leader Andrea Horwath has ruled out forming a coalition with the Liberal party. Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford had suggested that the NDP had been considering a “backroom deal” to keep the Liberals in power. “It seems to me that it’s Mr. Ford who likes the backroom deals, with developers and paving over the Greenbelt,” Horwath said, in reference to a video in which Ford mused about opening up protected farmland in the GTA (an idea he later retracted). She added, “In no uncertain terms, I want to make it clear I have no interest in a coalition government with the Liberals.”
- Ford promised that, if elected, a PC administration would end the practice of giving certain companies government subsidies. “Instead of picking winners and losers, we’re going to lower business taxes for everyone,” he said in Niagara Falls. Ford later visited a Smithville-based company that the Liberals pointed out had received $4.5 million in federal aid for a $46 million expansion that created 50 jobs. The Liberals argue that such government-business “partnerships” are crucial for job creation. A PC spokesperson later said that Ford would keep regional economic development funds in place but cancel the Jobs and Prosperity Fund, which the Tories argue is “used to hand out money to handpicked insiders.”
- Steve Paikin moderated a debate on transportation policy featuring representatives from the Liberals, Tories, NDP, and Green Party. You can see the full conversation here. An edited version will air on TVO tonight at 8 p.m. and again at 11 p.m.
- A new Ipsos poll for Global News shows the NDP supplanting the Liberals as the “anti-Ford” party. The survey shows the PCs at 40 per cent, the NDP at 35 per cent, and the Liberals at 22 per cent. “The Liberals are really falling away fast,” said Darrell Bricker of Ipsos.
What to watch for
- Wynne will start her day in Waterloo, with a morning announcement at Eleven-x, a local tech startup. At 2:20 p.m., she’ll make another announcement, at the London marketing firm Sagecomm. Then she’ll visit Wellington Brewery in Guelph at 5 p.m.
- Ford will hold a rally this morning outside Hydro One headquarters in Toronto. He has promised to fire CEO Mayo Schmidt, who made $6.2 million last year. It is unclear whether Ford, if elected, would be able to fire Schmidt; the move would cost the company more than $10 million in severance payments.
- Horwath will make an announcement this morning at Innovation Works, a “co-working space for social innovators” in London. She’ll hold a campaign event at Blue Dog Coffee Roasters Café in Paris at 1:30 p.m. and then end her day with a 6 p.m. town hall focused on health care at Open Sesame, a gallery and shop in Kitchener.
- Green Party leader Mike Schreiner will meet with the Toronto Star editorial board at noon. Then, from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., he’ll campaign in Guelph, where he is trying to win a seat.
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