Liberals to focus on Ontarians, not PC party turmoil, Wynne says

Premier Kathleen Wynne told Ontario Liberal Party members Saturday that the party's focus remains on the people of the province, not the political turmoil in the Progressive Conservative Party.

‘It’s not who we’re fighting against. It’s who we’re fighting for,’ premier tells party

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne delivers a 'rally-style' speech on Saturday to party members ahead of the coming spring provincial election. (CBC)

Premier Kathleen Wynne told Ontario Liberal Party members Saturday that the party's focus remains on the people of the province, not the political turmoil in the Progressive Conservative Party.

"Understandably, there is a lot of talk about who our opponent will be — who will be leading the Conservatives in this election, but here's the thing. It's not who we're fighting against. It's who we're fighting for," Wynne said at the event in downtown Toronto.

The premier, however, said she was both inspired and heartbroken by the sexual harassment stories in the news.

"I'm inspired by the courage and the resolve of the women who come forward to share their experiences. I marvel at their strength in the face of pain and scrutiny," she said. "But I am heartbroken that in 2018, we as a society are still confronted by this vile and unacceptable behaviour that is dominating our headlines right now."

Wynne used the opportunity to also talk about the Liberal's new code of conduct on harassment.

"We want to lead the way in establishing safe workplaces," she said. "As your leader, I am completely committed to that because it's never OK."

Wynne touts Liberal achievements

In the "rally-style" speech, the premier also spoke about recent party achievements, including pharmacare for youth under age 25, low unemployment rates, a balanced provincial budget and investments into hospitals, roads, schools, transit and long-term care homes.

She also recognized some of the challenges the province faces.

"New technologies are showcasing human ingenuity — but they are also transforming the workplace, and that means they are putting some existing jobs at risk," Wynne said. "We have to do whatever it takes to make sure our province is ready to seize the opportunities of this changing economy."

Wynne reiterated her belief that government can be "a force for good."

"Today, more than ever, there is a place for government — a need for government — to be involved in tackling these big issues that people simply can not solve alone."

She added that her team needs to canvas and get out the vote.

"Every single vote counts, that means every single visit on every single doorstep counts. Every single conversation. Every opportunity to tell the people of Ontario how we are working for them," Wynne said. "We have the best team. We have the best plan. And we have a clear purpose: Fighting to build a fair society where everyone has the opportunity to pursue their dreams."

Liberals untrustworthy, Conservative says

In a statement after Wynne's speech, MPP Lisa MacLeod called the premier untrustworthy and said that the provincial Liberals are saying anything to get re-elected. 

"Wynne said that the upcoming election is about who she is fighting for, and I know exactly who she is and has been fighting for. She is fighting for millionaire hydro executives, corporate donors, and liberal insiders," MacLeod said in the statement. 

"For 15 years she has been turning her back on the hardworking people of this province. For 15 years she has been lining the pockets of liberal insiders. For 15 years you have been paying more, yet getting less."

Wynne stressed to Liberals that the party needs to canvas and get out the vote. (Adrian Cheung/CBC)

The Liberal Party's annual general meeting in downtown Toronto, which entered its second day today, has focused on campaign preparedness, volunteer training and recruitment. It's expected to be the last meeting of its kind before the spring election. 

Wynne opened the convention Friday night by participating in a candidate spotlight and taking questions from party members.

Ontario's general election is June 7.

With files from The Canadian Press