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Caroline Mulroney ramps up attacks on rivals in Ontario Tory leadership race

Last Updated Feb 23, 2018 at 7:14 pm EST

Caroline Mulroney sharpened her attacks on her rivals in the race to lead Ontario’s Opposition on Friday even as she urged them to support her calls for the party’s former leader to back out of the contest.

The Toronto lawyer and businesswoman took aim at two of her competitors, Christine Elliott and Doug Ford, in a news conference ostensibly aimed at getting them to side with her against Patrick Brown.

Mulroney has urged Brown to abandon his bid to reclaim his old job as head of the Progressive Conservatives, which he gave up late last month amid sexual misconduct allegations he maintains are false.

Both Elliott and Ford have so far said they’re focused on their own leadership campaigns since the party gave Brown the green light to proceed in the contest earlier this week.

“This election is just too important to jeopardize by playing politics,” Mulroney said Friday at her campaign office in midtown Toronto. “This isn’t the time to reach into the past. This certainly isn’t the time to be distracted by one person’s problems. This is the time to unite the party.”

Mulroney questioned Elliott’s commitment to the Progressive Conservatives, saying the former health-care ombudsman, who was previously a Tory legislator, gave up on politics to take a high-profile job from the governing Liberals.

She also criticized Ford’s fiscal savvy, saying his “on-the-fly” policies would cost the province billions of dollars.

Mulroney, Ford, Elliott and another candidate, social conservative advocate Tanya Granic Allen, have all vowed to eliminate the carbon tax, a key pillar of the Tory platform issued under Brown’s leadership, but so far none have specified how they plan to recoup the estimated $4 billion in revenue it would generate.

That revenue is earmarked to fund an income tax cut and other measures, and experts have said going without it would require a significant rewrite of the party’s platform.

All five candidates are set to face off in a debate next Wednesday. The previous debate was held before Brown announced his candidacy.