Opposition parties press Ontario Liberals with demands

As Kathleen Wynne prepares to deliver her throne speech, opposition parties are outlining their demands of her minority government.

As Kathleen Wynne prepares to deliver her first throne speech as Ontario’s new premier on Tuesday, the opposition parties are pressing the Liberals with a list of demands.

Representatives of all three parties appeared on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning on Tuesday, outlining what they want to see in this afternoon’s speech, which will lay out the Liberals legislative agenda.

Clinging to a minority government, the Liberals will need support from some opposition members to ensure their budget is passed and avoid an election.

NDP Jagmeet Singh –  Bramalea-Gore-Malton

NDP MPP Jagmeet Singh (CBC)

Singh told the Metro Morning panel the NDP has a specific list of demands, including:

  • Better home care for seniors, with a guarantee that it will be delivered five days after a request is made.
  • Reductions to auto insurance rates.
  • A commitment to job creation, especially for young people.
  • Reductions in auto insurance.

Singh said the NDP wants to see the province’s budget balanced but said it "can’t be on the backs of working people. It has to be a balanced approach."

CBC provincial affairs reporter Mike Crawley reported Tuesday that Wynne's throne speech will include promises on youth employment, home care and welfare reform, all measures likely intended to garner NDP support. 

PC Todd Smith PC – Prince Edward–Hastings

Smith said the economy remains the primary concern of the Tories and questioned whether the economy was the primary concern of Wynne’s Liberals.

"We keep seeing private sector jobs disappearing by the thousands here in Ontario," said Smith.

Host Matt Galloway asked Smith if the Tories are serious about working with the Liberals when their party issued attack ads against Wynne the day after she was elected the new party leader in January.

"If we see a glimmer of recognition that we are in the largest jobs and economy crisis that we’ve had in a lifetime, then maybe we can work together," he said. "But it’s just words right now."

He also said the Tories need to make public more details about the Ornge and eHealth scandals and the decision to cancel gas plants in Liberal ridings ahead of the 2011 election.

Liberal Deb Matthews – London North Centre

London North Centre MPP Deb Matthews

As health minister and Wynne's deputy premier, Matthews insists her party will give weight to demands from the two opposition parties in Tuesday’s throne speech.

"[Wynne] has reached out to the other parties in an unprecedented way," said Matthews. "We really are determined to govern, and to make the minority government work."

"It’s about listening to the priorities of the other parties and finding the common ground. I do get the sense that there is goodwill, that we can work together, that we kind find common ground. The people of Ontario don’t want an election."

Matthews also said the Liberals will work to restore respect in the legislature.