Incoming Ontario premier gets early heat from opposition
Kathleen Wynne says she will try to make minority government work
Ontario's incoming premier has yet to be sworn in, but the opposition parties have already put forward demands they want her to meet as she looks to keep the minority Liberal government alive.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Monday she wants Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne to call a public inquiry into the politically motivated cancellation of two gas plants, which cost Ontario taxpayers at least $230 million.
"I think the public inquiry is the best way to get at this issue," Horwath told reporters.
Horwath also said that no matter what the incoming premier decides on the gas plants, she's still willing to try to make the minority government work.
"I think we can get some results for people," Horwath told CBC Radio's Metro Morning. "I'm prepared to do that, and I hope Ms. Wynne is prepared to work with me to make that happen."
Wynne said she has already reached out to the opposition in an effort to make the minority government work, and to have a more civil atmosphere in the legislature.
"Tim Hudak and I had a conversation at the convention," Wynne said. "He called me right after the decision, and we had a chat. Andrea and I just haven't been able to connect, but we are going to be having a conversation."
Progressive Conservative Leader Hudak said he wants Wynne to announce spending cuts immediately to help eliminate the $12-billion budget deficit.
He said he's willing to work with Wynne, but added his party's co-operation will depend on her commitment to reducing spending and creating jobs.
However, just hours after Wynne won the Liberal leadership race Saturday — becoming Ontario's first female leader and Canada's first openly gay premier — the Conservatives launched attack ads calling her "another Liberal Ontario can't afford."
Hudak defended the ads, saying he'll use any means available to address what he's calling a debt and jobs crisis in the province.
Wynne told Metro Morning: "I can't control what the opposition does. I can't control what the Conservatives decide to do about negative advertising. All I can do is stay on track, reach out, continue to attempt to establish a new relationship.
"The thing is that I can't take the bait you know. I am not going to react negatively, and get worked up about an ad.
She said the party leaders need to establish a working relationship, because otherwise, there is no hope for a functional minority government.
"Of course, we'll be willing to go to an election if we need to," Wynne added, "… if that's what the attack ad was about. But I'm going to do everything I can to govern in a minority parliament. That's my job."
Wynne met with Premier Dalton McGuinty Monday, who welcomed her to what will become her office.
With files from The Canadian Press