Toronto

Ontario Legislature resumes, Patrick Brown debuts as PC leader

Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown has taken his seat in the legislature today for the first time since he won the PC leadership in May, and is promising a "different approach."

Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown has taken his seat in the Ontario legislature today for the first time since he won the PC leadership in May.

Brown was sworn in as a member of the legislature this morning, the same day he sent a letter to Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne outlining his top three priorities:

  • Education. Brown says the Liberals have had "ample time" to get a labour deal with the province's elementary teachers.
  • Hydro One sale. Brown says the sale will lead to increased hydro rates. 
  • Job growth. Brown says the Liberals are increasing the regulatory burden on job creators and driving them to other jurisdictions. 

Brown used question period to press Wynne about rising hydro rates and their effect on jobs and about creating a fund to help families of emergency responders killed on the job.

Brown says the Tories won't oppose government initiatives simply because they are from the Liberals, insisting the Official Opposition won't be "blindly partisan."   

The Liberals say if Brown is sincere he'll support the new Ontario pension plan and their proposal for a cap-and-trade system to put a price on carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Liberals like to portray Brown as too right-wing for mainstream Ontario, especially on social issues, but the PC leader says he believes in a woman's right to choose and notes he marched in Toronto's annual Pride parade.

Brown says voters in Simcoe North rejected the Liberals' "negative smear campaign" against him in the byelection he won on Sept. 3.

The New Democrats and Tories both vow to fight the Liberal plan to sell 60 per cent of Hydro One, which is supposed to start this fall with an initial public offering of 15 per cent of the utility.

With files from The Canadian Press

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