Premier master of escaping accountability: Tories
Ontario's fall election campaign will unofficially kick off next week when the Liberal government adjourns the legislature, ending a spring session marked by a lottery scandal and allegations of a multibillion-dollar Liberal slush fund.
The Liberals emerged a little bruised from the spring sitting after a scathing ombudsman's report found retailers were winning too many big lottery jackpots, and following admissions the government gave out $32 million to multicultural groups, some with ties to the Liberals, without any application forms.
The opposition parties said Thursday there is no need for the legislature to prorogue before the originally scheduled date of June 28, except to give the government a break from facing daily questions in the legislature.
"Dalton McGuinty has shown himself to be the master of escaping accountability," said Conservative Leader John Tory.
"He wants to shut the house down because we have the gall to ask questions about job losses or his wasting of millions of taxpayer dollars. He likes it better if he doesn't have to answer any of those questions."
Tory said McGuinty should be fired by voters for skipping out of work three weeks early.
NDP Leader Howard Hampton said the Liberals clearly want to get away from the legislature so they can campaign without interference from the opposition parties.
"There was very little of substance passed in this session," he said.
"I think the government's preoccupation with photo-ops caught up with them. People are upset with the lottery scandal, the Liberal party slush fund and the use of government planes to fly from Toronto to Hamilton. It's all caught up with this government."
Finance Minister Greg Sorbara, the Liberals' campaign co-chair, likened their bid for re-election to a worker renewing an employment contract, and said the government is more than ready to campaign on its record of accomplishments.
"In health care and education, the environment and things like aboriginal issues, poverty, we were able to make some real steps on poverty and in virtually every area of public policy," Sorbara said.
"Over the course of the next three-and-a-half months, we'll be describing in campaign form what we're proposing for that contract renewal."