The Liberals and PC leader Tim Hudak traded barbs today, making comparisons that hearkened back to the past for both parties: the reign of previous premieres Mike Harris and Dalton McGuinty.
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Early Saturday, Eric Hoskins, the Liberal incumbent for Toronto's St. Paul's riding, called Hudak's plan to lay off 100,000 public sector workers “reckless” which would mean the loss of “firefighters, food inspectors, health and safety inspectors, scientists, engineers [and] childcare workers.”
Hoskins says the PCs have adopted a similar strategy to that of former Ontario premier Mike Harris by doing a “soft-peddle.”
“They remember Mike Harris doing the same thing when he launched the Common Sense Revolution. The pain he talked about was always going to affect somebody else.”
'[Mike] Harris pledged to fire 13,000 but when all was said and done, he’d actually fired 39,000 hardworking Ontarians.'- Liberal incumbent Eric Hoskins
Hoskins, the Liberal representative on Saturday as party leader Kathleen Wynne took the day off from campaigning, made references to his own background as a doctor.
“I remember the devastation that Mike Harris and Tim Hudak caused our healthcare system,” he went on during his press conference in Toronto Saturday morning.
“Despite his assurances, the Harris/Hudak PCs fired 6,000 nurses, closed 28 hospitals and slashed over 7,000 hospital beds.”
Hoskins said Hudak’s threat with layoffs could actually be, in reality, bigger.
“Harris pledged to fire 13,000 but when all was said and done, he’d actually fired 39,000 hardworking Ontarians.”
Harris’s Common Sense Revolution, his platform in 1995, focused on reducing taxes for both businesses and individuals in the hopes of creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. The plan was also to cut the province’s civil service by 15 per cent – about 13,000 jobs – and to reduce spending in healthcare and education deemed non-essential.
McGuinty mentioned with Wynne
Hudak, at a BBQ in support of Etobicoke-Lakeshore PC candidate Doug Holyday, had an equivalent rebuke.
“When it comes to taxes, one thing you can count on is that Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne will increase your taxes,” said Hudak at the afternoon event.
“They’ve done it before with the HST, with the health tax, eco tax, the list goes on and on. You know, they’re gong to increase your gas tax when they get back in office, not us.”
Hudak went on to say the PC plan is to provide a tax break to every tax payer and family once the budget is balanced – to the tune of $820 for the “typical family.”
His platform also pledges to lower taxes for companies, translating to "120,000 jobs."
"We're talking about a plan to make sure that next generation inherits a better Ontario than we have today."