McGuinty expects more attacks during election
RICHMOND HILL, Ont. - The Liberal party is predicting a negative election campaign this fall and the Conservatives say they can count on it.
About 500 members of the Ontario Liberal party are meeting this weekend for a "candidates school'' to get ready for the Oct. 10 election, which Premier Dalton McGuinty says will get ugly.
He warned party members that they will face increasingly aggressive and negative attacks from the opposition.
Conservative critic Frank Klees says his party will have a tough, negative message, but the Liberals have only themselves to blame.
He says the Conservatives will simply remind voters of Liberal broken promises and commitments that weren't followed through.
McGuinty says the Liberals will similarly try to use the records of former premiers Mike Harris and Ernie Eves as ammunition in their campaign.
"They don't have a positive plan and they certainly don't have a positive past,'' McGuinty said Friday night to the Liberal faithful as candidates began a weekend of schmoozing and strategizing.
But Klees said it's Liberals that have already gone on the attack, before the official campaign has even started, and added that the party is scared.
"There's a real credibility issue this government is facing. I think they will have a difficult time separating themselves from their track record,'' he said.
The Liberals are expected to adjourn the legislature next week, unofficially kicking off the election campaign.
Finance Minister Greg Sorbara, who is also the Liberal's campaign co-chair, said party members are anxious to get campaigning underway and there's positivity in the air.
"What I'm getting from party members, from newly-nominated candidates is a real sense of urgency,'' Sorbara said.
"In unheld ridings, candidates are saying, 'I think I can win this,' and there is a real sense of industry in this party and I'm thrilled with it.''
Sorbara said the Liberals will also be basing their campaign on their record, and they intend to portray it differently than the Conservatives.
"What we have to tell the people of Ontario is about what we've achieved over the past four years and ... when you look at it across all levels of government I think it's a remarkable record. I think it's as good a record as any government has ever had in a single four-year mandate in the history of this province,'' he boasted.