Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said today she would “never support” Tim Hudak’s plan to cut 100,000 public-sector jobs, but didn’t explicitly rule out propping up a possible Progressive Conservative minority government.
Horwath was in her home riding of Hamilton Centre on Saturday morning to cast her ballot in the first day of advance polling for the June 12 provincial election.
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Her appearance in Hamilton comes amid speculation that she is at least mulling a possible working arrangement with Tim Hudak and the Tories in a minority parliament.
Horwath has left the door open to working with other parties after the election.
The Liberals, first under the leadership of then Premier Dalton McGuinty and then under his successor, Kathleen Wynne, survived more than two and a half years of minority government at Queen's Park with the support of the NDP.
“I want to be clear: I am running to be premier of this province,” said Horwath, responding to a reporter’s question about whether she would work with a possible PC minority.
“What I can tell you is I will never support any plan that fires 100,000 hard-working people in this province,” she said, citing Hudak's plan to cut tens of thousands of public-sector jobs in a bid to balance the provincial budget by 2016-2017.
However, she did not rule out working with the Tories in a minority legislature at Queen’s Park.
Sid Ryan, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, told CBC News on Saturday that Horwath's comments have caused "confusion" for the party's traditional supporters, and he called on the NDP chief to clarify her position.
"The labour movement has a campaign which is all about stopping Hudak," said Ryan. "It's inconceivable that the NDP would even contemplate any form of a coalition or any kind of an alliance with the Conservatives in this province, so she needs to clarify it."
Slams Tories, 'corrupt' Liberals
Arriving to a voting station in central Hamilton on a campaign bus around 11 p.m., Horwath cast her ballot in an advance poll along with her son Julian Leonetti, 21.
Speaking to a scrum of reporters outside the building, she slammed both the Liberals’ record and the PCs’ economic plan.
“We do not have to have a Liberal government that is corrupt, that wastes our tax dollars, that doesn’t respect the hard-earned money that you send to Queen’s Park,” she said.
“We don’t have to have a Hudak government, frankly, that basically makes no sense whatsoever, that wants to fire education workers, wants to fire nurses.
“That’s not what this province needs.”
Proposed MaRS bailout
Horwath addressed recent allegations that suggest the Liberals secretly approved a $317-million bailout for a downtown Toronto real estate developer and the MaRS research and innovation charity.
The Liberals gave $71 million to build a second tower at the MaRS research complex near Queen's Park and provided a $234-million loan for the project, but the documents show the registered charity and the real estate developer behind it can't repay the money.
“This is exactly the kind of behaviour that people are tired of when it comes to the Liberals,” Horwath said on Saturday. “We’ve asked the auditor general to look into what’s really gone on there. But it sure looks like another typical Liberal scandal.”
On Thursday, Wynne said the documents refer to negotiations that are underway — but not completed — to purchase the building at the MaRS innovation research centre.
If finalized, she says the agreement would ensure that MaRS could fulfill its mandate to create jobs and support research and innovation.
Wynne called the MaRS deal a "responsible decision" saying it would also allow consolidation of government offices into a government-owned building, so it would not be paying leases on that space.