Ontario’s NDP leader took her election campaign Monday to the riding Doug Ford is hoping to capture, slamming the Tory leader’s tax plan on his home turf.
Andrea Horwath, whose New Democrats have been surging ahead in recent polls, said Ford’s plan cuts a middle class tax bracket by 20 per cent but, she contends, it will actually see the richest people benefit the most.
“He’s great with the bumper stickers, with the announcements that sound good, but the minute you peel back a layer you see that his plan is not a plan for the people,” she said.
“We can’t afford Mr. Ford’s plan. It will give tax cuts to the rich, where everyone else is going to pay much, much more to make a go of life.”
Horwath campaigned in the riding of Etobicoke North, where Ford is running. The riding’s incumbent is Liberal Shafiq Qaadri, who has represented the riding on the back benches since 2003.
Qaadri crashed Horwath’s event, holding up one of his own lawn signs and shouting during her press conference.
“I think we both share a common goal, Ms. Horwath, against Mr. Ford,” Qaadri said.
Horwath called his actions “unfortunate.”
“Shafiq, if you don’t mind, I’m going to finish my press conference and then you can have all the time you want to talk to the media, but please don’t interrupt me,” she said. “It’s very rude.”
A few hours later, Qaadri issued an apology on Twitter, saying his actions were “rash and inexcusable.”
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Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne called Qaadri’s actions inappropriate.
“He shouldn’t have done that,” she said, noting that her staff had reached out to Qaadri’s campaign.
Wynne spent much of her time at a campaign stop in downtown Toronto attacking Horwath’s opposition to the use of back-to-work legislation.
She stood with Glenn Thibeault, who left his job as a federal New Democrat to become a provincial Liberal in a 2015 byelection, to say the NDP puts ideology ahead of practical solutions.
“It does come down to a question of leadership,” Wynne said.
“Without the ability to stop strikes when they’ve gone on too long or they’ve hurt too many people, you’re left with very few choices. You can either leave the province permanently on strike, or you can give away everything that’s been asked for. Andrea Horwath would empty the public purse.”
Wynne said a re-elected Liberal government would recall the legislature right after the election to introduce back-to-work legislation to end a nearly three-month strike at York University. The NDP voted against a similar attempt when the Liberals introduced legislation just before the legislative session ended for the election.
Ford, meanwhile, appeared in Newmarket, where he was pressed on when the Tories would release a costed platform. He repeated his vow to present the document before the election but gave no further details.
“We’ve been laying out our plan every single day … we put a dollar figure beside every single announcement that we have,” said Ford, who has been criticized repeatedly by his rivals for not yet putting out a full platform.
Ontario heads to the polls June 7.
With files from News Staff