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Tories to order audit of government spending if elected

Last Updated Apr 17, 2018 at 6:02 pm EDT

A senior campaign official for the Ontario Liberals is apologizing for a crude comment he made on live television about Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford. Ontario Conservative leader Doug Ford takes questions from journalists during a pre-budget lock-up as the Ontario Provincial Government prepares to deliver its 2018 Budget at the Queens Park Legislature in Toronto on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives say they’ll order an outside audit of the government’s spending if elected to office in June.

Tory Leader Doug Ford says he doesn’t trust the governing Liberals’ spending or accounting practices and wants an independent analysis of the province’s finances, which would be released publicly.

Ford has previously mentioned the possibility of an audit when questioned on his decision not to present a fully costed platform before the spring election.

“We’re going to restore responsibility, accountability, and trust in government,” he said. “Ontario deserves answers about how big (Premier) Kathleen Wynne’s mess really is.”

The Tories have consistently accused the Liberals of reckless spending and pointed Tuesday to the government’s decision to plunge the province back into deficit instead of balancing the books as promised.

The Liberals fired back at Ford on Tuesday, suggesting he would bring in an auditor to help make service cuts. The Tory leader has vowed to find savings by eliminating unspecified efficiencies.

“Doug Ford refuses to provide a costed platform, and he won’t tell Ontarians what his plans are or where the cuts will be made,” spokeswoman Andrea Ernesaks said in a statement.

“Now we know that he’s going to hire a firm to find 4 per cent in across-the-board cuts.”

The Liberals, who posted their first balanced budget in a decade last year, had vowed to stay in the black through 2019-2020.

But they chose to run a $6.7-billion deficit this year, saying it was necessary to provide what they called much-needed support to Ontario residents.

Two fiscal watchdogs — the province’s auditor general and financial accountability officer — have also cast doubts on their accounting in the past, with one questioning the government’s claims to balance in 2017-2018.