Liberals target 'fiscal mistakes' made by NDP as Ontario campaign heats up

The Ontario Liberals are putting the New Democrats in the crosshairs as campaigning heats up ahead of the June 7 provincial election.

On Sunday, Andrea Horwath admitted to $1.4B hole in her spending plan

'It was something that we had to fix and we fixed it,' Andrea Horwath said Sunday of the $1.4B hole in her spending plan. (Chris Glover/CBC)

Ontario's governing Liberals are calling on the New Democrats to adjust their platform a day after NDP leader Andrea Horwath admitted her party made a $1.4-billion annual costing mistake.

Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne said Horwath has a responsibility to correct the error — in which the NDP counted a $700 million reserve fund as revenue rather than as an expense — as soon as possible.

The numbers have since been fixed in the online version of the New Democrats' platform, but Wynne said the issue goes deeper.

"People are counting on us as politicians in the province," she said. "They're counting on us to be able to put forward a plan, and to be able to be clear about what the impact of that plan would be."

The NDP initially said they would run a $3.3 billion deficit in 2018-2019, but with the error corrected that number jumps to $4.7 billion.

That's compared to the Liberals, whose budget projects a $6.7-billion deficit and the Progressive Conservatives who have indicated that they will likely run a deficit in their first year in power, but have not released a fully costed platform.

Campaigning from a Mexican restaurant in Toronto on Monday, Wynne said she doesn't see how the NDP will be able to continue running on the same platform.

"That changes everything about what the NDP plan says, and what is possible," Wynne said. "So (Horwath) will have to answer questions about how she will go forward, and the impact of that mistake on the overall plan."

But Horwath said that while the error will affect deficit projections for several years, her party will keep its spending promises.

"It doesn't prevent us from doing any of the things that we believe we can do to help get rid of hallway medicine for example, and fix seniors' care in our province," Horwath said on her campaign bus in eastern Ontario on Sunday. "The deficit will be a little bigger than expected, but we still will be on the trajectory to balance."