Hudak planning to feed McGuinty 'humble pie'
Published Friday, October 14, 2011 5:07PM EDT
TORONTO - Premier Dalton McGuinty "needs to have a bit of humble pie" after last week's election that saw his Liberal government reduced to a minority, Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak warned Friday.
It was the Opposition leader's first appearance at the legislature after a week of silence that followed his electoral defeat, but all he could talk about was McGuinty's loss.
The Liberal leader forfeited the most seats since former premier David Peterson was defeated by the New Democrats in 1990, Hudak said.
"I hope we'll see the premier approach us with a little bit more humility, reach out to the caucuses and how we can move forward together," he said, apparently unaware that he'd used McGuinty's campaign catchphrase, "Forward. Together."
"We recognize we had great gains in the province. We had some areas we didn't gain, but we're going to fix that and we'll win next time."
While his party gained 12 more seats this time around, the Conservatives failed to break through in Toronto and its surrounding suburbs, Hudak said.
Their closest seat is Thornhill, north of the city, which is held by Conservative Peter Shurman.
But Hudak wouldn't acknowledge that his comments early in the campaign about a proposed Liberal tax credit for so-called "foreign workers" may have damaged his party's chances in the ethnically diverse Greater Toronto Area.
"As any party does, we'll do the full review of the campaign," he said. "We've got a lot to be proud of -- big gains that we've made. We won the election outside Toronto. We didn't win it in Toronto and we need to make sure we do next time around."
He did managed to poke fun at his speaking style, which some have criticized due to his tendency of doggedly sticking to prepared message points.
"One piece of advice I got from a lot of caucus members as well is that I was just too freestyle," Hudak joked. "I've got to make sure I stick to script more often."
The Tories won 37 seats in the election, but were shut out of vote-rich Toronto. The NDP won 17 seats -- seven more than 2003 -- while the Liberals were reduced to 53 seats, one seat shy of a majority government.
Premier Dalton McGuinty shrugged off Hudak's warning, saying all three party leaders should "better understand" how minority governments work and look for ways to work together.
"I understand that I'm going to have to find a way to work with my counterparts in the other parties," he said in Peterborough, Ont.
"And I think that the good news that I would say to Ontarians is that there's a lot of common ground."
All three parties understand the urgency of strengthening the province's economy, creating jobs and protecting education and health care, McGuinty added.
"I would also say that we're a centrist party, we're in the middle of the road," he said. "And on so many occasions in the past, we've had the NDP support us on the one hand or the PCs on the other. So I'm confident that we'll find a way forward working together."
McGuinty said he's already sought advice from former Tory premier Bill Davis, who had two minority governments when he ruled the province between 1971 and 1985. Hudak said he also spoke to Davis this week.
"He described some of the experience that he had, and I found it very helpful," McGuinty said. "So I'm going to continue to reach out and talk to people."
The premier didn't have far to go. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who shared a news conference with McGuinty in Peterborough, would have been able to offer a few tips on how to run minority governments.