Ontario's Wynne to reveal governing plan in throne speech

Ontarians will hear the plan that Premier Kathleen Wynne has for the province when her first throne speech is revealed on Tuesday.
The premier's first throne speech will be unveiled Tuesday. 2:21

Ontarians will hear the plan that Premier Kathleen Wynne has for the province when her first throne speech is revealed on Tuesday.

Since taking on the job as Liberal leader, Wynne has telegraphed her intent to work with the two opposition parties that together hold more than half the seats in the Ontario legislature.

And she has promised to incorporate some opposition ideas in the throne speech, which will be delivered by Lt.-Gov. David Onley at 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

But the new premier faces many of the same problems that helped push former premier Dalton McGuinty out the door, including an ongoing dispute with public school teachers across Ontario and questions about the expensive cancellation of power plants in Liberal ridings.

Tuesday's throne speech will be the first time in more than four months that MPPs will attend to regular business, following a prorogation by McGuinty last October.

Hudak has advice for premier

A day ahead of the throne speech, Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak sent a letter to the premier laying out what he believes Wynne must do to prove that she is moving forward with a different approach than her predecessor.

In the letter, Hudak says the premier must first demonstrate that she has a plan to strengthen the provincial economy and cut down on government spending.

The PC leader says the province has had higher-than-average unemployment for six-plus years, as well as heavy losses in the private sector in recent times, while increasing the number of people on the government payroll.

Special coverage

CBC listeners across Ontario will be able to listen to a live radio special, hosted by Robert Fisher, starting at 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

The throne speech will also be available as a livestream on cbc.ca/toronto.

CBC viewers will also be able to see full coverage and analysis on CBC Television starting at 5 p.m.

That's why Hudak believes that government hiring is out of step with what is happening outside the public sector. He says a new approach is needed at Queen's Park.

"We owe it to Ontarians to make the first order of business reducing government spending and our debt," Hudak said in his letter.

His letter comes one day before the provincial legislature is due to resume, 126 days after it was prorogued by McGuinty, the same day he announced he was stepping down as Liberal leader.

Hudak is also critical of Wynne's decision to appoint an expanded cabinet to serve alongside her, when he believes she should be setting an example.

"This signals to Ontarians, credit rating agencies and investors that all bets are off when it comes to reining in government spending," Hudak said in the letter.

Hudak said the Liberals must also "finally reveal the whole truth about the decision to relocate the Mississauga and Oakville gas plants and to subsequently cover up the information related to those decisions."

Opposition parties say that the Liberals cancelled the gas plants during the 2011 election — at a cost to taxpayers of at least $230 million — to save seats in the face of local opposition to the projects.

Last Thursday, the premier sent a letter to Hudak and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath signalling her willingness to "strike a select committee" to examine the controversy surrounding the gas plants.

As Wynne said in her letter: "Where mistakes were made, they must be addressed and prevented from happening again."

Wynne's throne speech comes just over a week after she was formally sworn in as premier and less than a month since she took the reins of the Ontario Liberal Party.

The Liberals underwent a leadership renewal process after McGuinty announced in October that he was stepping down.

With a report from the CBC's Mike Crawley and files from The Canadian Press