Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath believes many Brant residents and a majority of Ontarians have had enough of province’s Liberal government.
“I don’t think any riding is isolated from the realities that the Liberals have shown to Ontario,” Horwath said during an exclusive interview with Brant News. “It seems that, regardless of the local representative, the track record of the Liberal government in Ontario has been a dismal one.
“I think people not only in Brant, but all over the province, have finally had enough – and rightfully so.”
An NDP government would improve an above-average unemployment rate in Brant riding, Horwath said.
“The province is in big trouble,” she said. “Not only do we have a jobs crisis here in Brant, but all over the province we have that problem.
“We have families that feel like they’re falling further and further behind and they can’t make ends meet. Wages actually went down in Ontario last year.
“It’s not a good thing. And yet the government thinks it’s okay to shut the doors of the legislature and focus on the fortunes of the Liberal Party and focus on their leadership? I mean, that is a shameful thing. I think people were shocked at first and then angry and rightfully so.”
Horwath said Ontarians should be suspicious of Premier Dalton McGuinty’s recent announcement of his departure from politics.
“It’s cynical and self-interested,” Horwath said. “Mr. McGuinty left politics and prorogued (the Legislative Assembly of Ontario) for one reason and one reason only – which is to take the spotlight off of the scandal of the gas plants being moved in Oakville and Mississauga.
“He can characterize it in whatever way he wants, but it’s very clear that his resignation and the prorogation are more about avoiding the public scrutiny, avoiding the truth, avoiding the real costs.”
Horwath said she won’t predict when the next provincial election may be called.
“I’m not going to focus so much on when an election might occur,” Horwath said. “What I’m going to focus on is ‘how do we actually get this province back on its feet again? How do we get people feeling confident about the future again? How do we start getting results for Ontarians?’
“If an election comes in the spring, if it comes in the fall, all I know for sure is I’m going to be ready with some real ideas on how to move this province forward. I think we have lots of opportunity…I would hope that the people of this community help us to encourage the premier to unchain the doors of Queen’s Park and get us back to work on their behalf.”
Horwath said Ontarians have a clear choice whenever the next election is called.
“I think what the people of Brant need to look at and what the people of the province need to look at is who is it that is out to get results for them time and time again?” she said. “I think, clearly, that is the track record of New Democrats and, frankly, I’m not planning on changing my direction.”
Horwath said she stopped in Brant on Saturday to hear residents’ ideas about how Ontario should be governed.
“I will be meeting with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business as well as the local chapter of the real estate association,” Horwath said. “I will also be doing some fundraising work with the riding association.”
The NDP would take a different approach than corporate tax cuts to offering businesses incentives to grow, Horwath said.
“We would rather provide tax credits for companies that are creating jobs, so job creators would get tax credits,” Horwath said. “We also think a tax credit system for those who are investing in productivity improvements is a good way to go.”