McGuinty pledges fertility monitoring for women
TORONTO - Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty showcased a set of campaign platform planks aimed at women and families Friday as he struck a decidedly softer tone than the sometimes raucous one that permeated the previous night's televised debate.
Speaking at a luncheon for female business executives, McGuinty pledged to phase in all-day kindergarten, a tax rebate for those who care for an aging parent in the parent's home, and fertility monitoring for women over the age of 28 as part of their annual physical exam.
He also vowed to extend government office hours on weekends and evenings, and to extend the land transfer rebate of up to $2,000 to all first-time homebuyers.
"What we're saying to Ontario women is, you do so much to strengthen our families and our economy and our society, we want to do what we can to help you,'' McGuinty said.
"I know these measures alone won't transform the lives of Ontario women, but I'm hopeful they will let Ontario women know that they're not alone.''
McGuinty was introduced by his wife, Terri, who rarely speaks publicly on the hustings. She praised McGuinty as a good husband and father, and told the crowd a short story about the Liberal leader's attempt at a pickup line years ago.
"When I look at him, I sometimes still see that lanky 17-year-old who came up to me very sheepishly and asked for money in the school cafeteria,'' she said.
The mood at the luncheon seemed much less tense than it had been for the Liberal leader the day before, when he battled against a tag-team pounding in Thursday's debate from Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory and the NDP's Howard Hampton -- "HoJo,'' he joked.
And while he admitted he has "not run a perfect government,'' McGuinty was clearly looking for a silver lining when he suggested their relentless attacks on the Liberal record may have cost them in the long run.
"They've got their own ideas, but they devoted so much time attacking me, I think they sold themselves short in terms of making their own pitch about where they'd like to take the province,'' McGuinty said.
Tory and Hampton spent much of the debate attacking McGuinty's record of broken promises, including his failure to come through on a promise not to raise taxes.
McGuinty said he knew what to expect.
"I went in there, I knew they were going to do what they were going to do.''