Ontarians want more accountable government, Horwath says
NDP leader meets privately with Premier Kathleen Wynne — no word on budget support
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says Ontarians want a more accountable government at Queen's Park, a message she personally delivered to Premier Kathleen Wynne during a private meeting on Wednesday afternoon.
"We want to see accountability measures, we know that the premier has heard that request or that demand from Ontarians. We brought it forward formally this afternoon and now it will be up to her to make a decision," Horwath said following her meeting with the premier.
The New Democrats want the Liberals to create a new financial accountability office that would keep track of government spending. They also want the government to allow the ombudsman to provide oversight of the province’s health-care system.
Horwath headed into her meeting with the premier saying that she would be seeking "action on accountability."
The two leaders' Wednesday afternoon meeting comes at a time when the minority Liberals are waiting to see if their budget will obtain opposition support to allow their government to survive.
Ahead of the meeting, Wynne said she was "optimistic" that the Liberals had put together a budget that the NDP could support.
The governing Liberals don't have enough seats in the legislature to get their budget passed on their own. That has left the government seeking support from the third-party New Democrats, as they won't be getting any help from the Progressive Conservatives.
Following Horwath's remarks to reporters on Wednesday afternoon, PC Deputy Leader Christine Elliott suggested that the New Democrats could not credibly support the Liberal budget if they are also fed up with its performance.
"We need the Liberals to stop trying to buy off the NDP with taxpayers’ money and we need the NDP to stop trying to have it both ways," Elliott said.
"They can’t say in the morning that this is a corrupt government … and in the afternoon say: 'Well, we want to work with you.' You simply cannot have it both ways."
A year ago, the Liberals struggled to get a budget passed under similar conditions in which the New Democrats' support was critical to the government’s survival. It eventually passed in June 2012, weeks after it was tabled.
This time around, the Liberals hold a slightly weaker position in the legislature than they did a year ago. They currently have 51 seats, while the Tories hold 36 seats and the New Democrats 18 seats.
Two seats remain vacant following the departure of two former Liberal cabinet ministers.
With files from the CBC's Mike Crawley