Kathleen Wynne takes aim at Harper over pension reform

​Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne puts Prime Minister Stephen Harper in her crosshairs at the provincial Liberal convention, girding for a possible spring election.

Ontario premier blasts Ottawa, provincial opposition parties in campaign-style speech to delegates

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne greets supporters and her caucus at a rally during the party's annual general meeting in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

​Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is putting Prime Minister Stephen Harper in her crosshairs as she girds for a possible spring election.

Addressing the party faithful in Toronto, she says his opposition to pension reform is somewhere between "offensive and inexplicable."

Wynne clashed with Ottawa last year over its refusal to boost the Canada Pension Plan, and has said she will introduce plans for a new, separate pension plan for Ontarians this year. 

"It is somewhere between offensive and inexplicable to ask the people who worked hard all their lives to be rewarded with retirement that takes them out of the middle class," Wynne told the crowd. "That might be Stephen Harper’s way, but it is not our way. It is not the Liberal way.” 

But Wynne also took a page from Harper's election playbook, painting her provincial Liberals as the safe, steady alternative to the reckless Tories and New Democrats.

The Progressive Conservatives want “a war on labour,” Wynne said, while the NDP “believes that business is the enemy.”

“Neither has a plan to move forward. Neither shares our laser focus on helping working families.”

Well-funded public transit, keeping Ontario's hospitals public and protecting the Great Lakes could make it into the Liberals' next election platform.

Party officials say one of those policy ideas — which were selected from suggestions from thousands of party and non-party members — will be in the document.

It's likely public transit will factor prominently, as Wynne has been talking for months about dedicated funding for a major transit expansion in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area.

And an election could be around the corner if the minority Liberals fail to pass their spring budget, whose date hasn't been announced yet.

Delegates at the party's annual general meeting in Toronto are already getting ready with training sessions designed to prepare them for the next campaign.

"What Leadership Is" is the other slogan the party is using to brand Wynne, who was sworn in as premier just over a year ago, but has plenty of experience having spent years at the cabinet table.

But the opposition parties say those so-called Liberal "safe hands" cancelled two unpopular gas plants at a cost of up to $1 billion and are driving up energy rates.

There are also two criminal investigations underway, including one into the suspicious business activities of Ornge, the province's air ambulance service.

The Liberals are driving out businesses with high taxes and energy rates and catering to unions at the taxpayers' expense, the Tories said. 

With files from CBC