Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty is using talk of global economic uncertainty to encourage Ontario voters to re-elect a Liberal government that has already weathered tough times.
The Liberal party's catchphrase of "a serious plan for serious times" took on more weight Friday at the end of a week that saw a string of volatile days on the markets and dire economic warnings from Ottawa.
"I think we have to be prudent and we have to be thoughtful," McGuinty said at a stop in Hamilton after reiterating a pledge to expand GO Transit commuter trains to all-day service along existing corridors over 10 years.
"We do not want panic."
McGuinty urged calm and caution over the province's economy a day after Prime Minister Stephen Harper outlined plans to cut $4 billion in public spending to balance Canada's books.
McGuinty borrowed from Harper's own election playbook as he pointed to the success his two-term provincial government has had in pulling through a rough recession.
"We actually managed through a very difficult period in our history in Ontario, a terrible recession," he said, adding that Canada and Ontario in particular had fared very well in comparison to the rest of the world.
Liberals didn't do enough during recession: Horwath
The claim didn't sit too well with the New Democrats. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath wouldn't say what she'd do if a another recession hit, but she said the Liberals didn't do enough during the last economic slump.
"We've watched a government that, through a recession, made life worse for people, didn't make life better for people," Horwath said in Sudbury.
"In a recessionary time, the government brought in the unfair HST, that didn't bring in any jobs, which shifted the tax burden off corporations on to everyday people for no benefit."
Horwath also dismissed suggestions that an NDP government would spook investors and businesses. She said her party would provide a full costing of their platform "very soon."
Meanwhile, the Progressive Conservatives have railed against McGuinty for fiscal mismanagement throughout the campaign, hammering him for raising taxes and painting the Liberal leader as a man the province can't trust.
But trusting a Liberal government to continue a careful fiscal approach is just what would allow the province to stay on track, McGuinty said.
"We're still in a growth phase here, we can't completely uncouple from a global economy," he said. "That's why I'm saying to Ontarians: we need to stay on track."
McGuinty went on to tout his party's plans for tax reform and pocketbook relief while saying the Liberal platform was "relatively modest" compared to those put out by his political rivals.
He highlighted $1.7 billion of prudence his party has built into every year in their four-year plan and also said he'd continue to "work well" with Ontario's partners across the country and in the federal government.