McGuinty says Tory government would cost cities
Published Tuesday, September 13, 2011 9:02PM EDT
The sour taste of sweeping Toronto budget cuts made its mark on the provincial campaign trail on Tuesday, when Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty warned that more of the same was on the way should the Tories form the next provincial government.
McGuinty jumped on a set of recommendations released by Toronto City Manager Joe Pennachetti on Monday which suggested the city sell or close zoos and performance arts centres among the various concessions were put forward to balance the books.
He said a Liberal government would keep uploading costs from municipalities, something Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak would not do.
McGuinty said Hudak would saddle Toronto taxpayers with $170 million in costs the Liberals are prepared to cover.
The municipal budget review recommended closing some museums and libraries as well as finding efficiencies in transit, fire and emergency services and reducing subsidized child care spaces.
At a campaign stop in London on Tuesday, Hudak expressed confidence that voters won't be swayed by McGuinty's campaign.
"And here's what they'll be focusing on: Do you want four more years of Dalton McGuinty who you know for sure is going to raise your taxes…or a PC government that will give families relief," he said.
"I think the reality is people will look at the issues here in the province, and the reality is Dalton McGuinty's record is going to hurt him because people want to change."
Hudak also turned his attention on the eHealth scandal, an issue the Conservatives have been hammering the Liberals over for the past several months.
The scandal saw $1 billion spent on untendered contracts and expense account abuses. It also led to the resignation of then-health minister David Caplan.
Hudak said that McGuinty has been looking the other way while "fancy eHealth consultants have lived limousine lifestyles."
Meanwhile, McGuinty is standing by eHealth, maintaing that the agency has been working to rebuild and had given millions of Ontarians access to electronic medical records.
The latest Nanos Research poll suggests the Tories have fallen behind the Liberals in popularity after entering the Oct. 6 election as clear front-runners.
CTV Toronto's Paul Bliss said Hudak did not mention his opposition to the proposed tax credit during a campaign stop on Tuesday, suggesting the strategy has failed to rope in support.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath was dealing with her own setback on Tuesday after a veteran party member was questioned about using Jack Layton's death to help raise campaign funds.
MPP Michael Prue has been using an auto-dialing system to call voters in his Beaches-East York riding and tell them that the party has been going through a rough patch since the late federal NDP leader died last month.
While campaigning in Windsor, Horwath said she did not approve the fundraising campaign tied to Layton's death and she would investigate the incident.
Horwath said that citizens speak with her every day about Layton's passing, but that she never brings it up herself and doesn't attempt to benefit from the loss.
She admitted to reporters that the party did receive a boost of energy and volunteers because of Layton's legacy.
With files from The Canadian Press