In front of a crowd of roughly 30 supporters at the Airlane Hotel in Thunder Bay Sunday, Andrea Horwath attacked the governing Liberals and Premier Kathleen Wynne for their handling of the gas plant scandal, the Ring of Fire development and recent byelections, among other issues.
The NDP leader also took a jab at Wynne's recent trip to the region, in which the premier visited the new law school at Lakehead University and read to elementary students on the first day of school.
"Northerners need less photo ops from the Liberals, and more results on the issues that face your communities," she said.
Horwath took time to tout her party's accomplishments, including the proposed formation of a Financial Accountability Office — an NDP idea Horwath pushed to have included in the spring budget.
"[Prime Minister] Stephen Harper established a similar office, called the Parliamentary Budget Office," Horwath said, "and it was so effective, that he's been trying to get rid of that darn office ever since he opened it."
Following her address, Horwath told reporters her party will push the government to live up to the promises it made in the budget, including a pledge to improve homecare for patients with long-term care needs.
'It's a travesty'
She said the government's lack of attention to the issue has resulted in situations like the one at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, where seven family lounges have been converted into spaces for patient beds.
"It's a travesty, and it's something that's playing out in hospitals across the province," she said. Horwath added she hopes the government will "focus on clearing the waiting list [for homecare], because in so doing, you're actually dealing with the nub of the problem in communities that don't have the kind of access to homecare that they should have."
With the premier's visit earlier this month, and Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak in town Monday, the leaders of all three major parties will have visited Thunder Bay within two weeks.
When asked if this means Ontarians should prepare for an election, Horwath said she hopes the government will survive long enough to implement policies she said the NDP has "forced" into the budget.
"Having said that, it is a minority parliament," she added.
"So we don't know when the next election's going to be. It could be sooner, it could be later."