Mulroney pledges to honour $1B for Hamilton's LRT project if she wins

At least one of the three main Ontario PC leadership candidates says she'll honour the commitment to Hamilton's light rail transit system if she wins in June.
Three Ontario PC leadership candidates - Christine Elliott, Doug Ford and Caroline Mulroney - have spent time in Hamilton. Mulroney is the only candidate to explicitly say she'd support Hamilton's LRT system. (Chris Young, Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

At least one of the three main Ontario PC leadership candidates says she'll honour the commitment to Hamilton's light rail transit system if she wins in June.

Caroline Mulroney, who like other contenders has spent time in Hamilton this month, says she'd remain committed to spending $1 billion to build LRT.

"A PC government under Caroline Mulroney would honour existing commitments to major transit projects in the GTA, including those already under construction in Oshawa, Hamilton and Kitchener-Waterloo," her campaign said in a statement last week.

Christine Elliott was less on the nose, saying she'd "continue to follow transit investments" highlighted in the People's Guarantee.

That guarantee, however, only specifically mentions investments in Toronto's subway system and Wi-Fi on GO trains.

Elliott did say transit is "an important aspect of growing a community."

Doug Ford's campaign didn't respond to requests for comment.

The party's commitment to LRT has been the subject of local scrutiny for at least the last two years.

In 2015, after multiple council votes asking the province to build LRT here, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced $1 billion for the project, as well as money for the Confederation GO station in Hamilton's east end.

The city is looking at bringing in Indigenous art from across Canada for its LRT stops. (Metrolinx)

Council grappled with it for months, and Wynne said the province would fund LRT or bus rapid transit (BRT) — perceived by some LRT opponents to be a cheaper and more appropriate option — depending on what council wanted.

Former PC leader Patrick Brown said he'd honour whatever council wanted too, and wouldn't make the city go to the back of the line for money if it wasn't LRT.

Last year, councillors voted to move ahead with a crucial environmental assessment update. Metrolinx has already bought several properties to make room for the line from McMaster University to Eastgate Square.

Brown stepped down as leader last month amid two allegations of sexual misconduct. Brown has denied the allegations, and vowed to fight them.

As for the leadership race, the three longest-standing contenders have paid attention to Hamilton in their whirlwind campaigns leading up to the June election.

Elliott has held two events here. "Hamilton is one of the important pistons in the Ontario engine," she said via a campaign email.

Hamilton's only Conservative MPP, Sam Oosterhoff of Niagara West-Glanbrook, has endorsed Elliott.

Mulroney, meanwhile, held an event on the Mountain Wednesday. Ford visited Hamilton last week, and Welland earlier this week.

The three, along with Tanya Granic Allen, will participate Thursday afternoon in their first leadership debate.

The event begins at 4 p.m. on TVO. CBC will be live blogging during the debate.


Samantha Craggs is a CBC News reporter based in Hamilton, Ont. She often tweets about Hamilton city hall. Follow her on Twitter at @SamCraggsCBC, or email her at samantha.craggs@cbc.ca