'I'm not running a popularity contest,' Ontario PC leader says
Published Sunday, May 11, 2014 11:00AM EDT
Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak says he's "not running a popularity contest" as he campaigns to return his party to power at Queen's Park after more than a decade of Liberal government.
Asked about an Ottawa Sun editorial that painted him as "a bundle of ill-conceived talking points" and "awkward," Hudak responded that he has "substantive ideas" to create jobs in Ontario and is committed to "straight talk" about his plan to turn Ontario's economy around.
"I'm not running a popularity contest here," Hudak told CTV's Question Period in an interview that aired Sunday. "I'm the guy who has a turnaround plan to get Ontario moving again."
Ontario was propelled into an election campaign last week when NDP Leader Andrea Horwath declared she had lost confidence in Kathleen Wynne's minority Liberal government and would vote against its latest budget.
Wynne spent the first week of campaigning criticizing the federal government and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Some federal ministers and staffers are assisting with Hudak's campaign.
Asked whether Hudak is taking on the role of "Harper's little brother" in the campaign, Hudak said he doesn't see it that way.
"I understand why Kathleen Wynne is playing this particular card," Hudak said. "It's what weak leaders do. When weak leaders run out of ideas, they blame somebody else. Nothing is ever their fault."
Hudak said he will leave Wynne to her own campaign strategy while he focuses on his: talking about his plan to create one million jobs, balance the budget and attract investment to the province.
"We didn't want the power of Hudak mania to overwhelm the power of our ideas," Hudak joked when asked if his plan is to deal with issues and avoid a "likeability contest" with Wynne.
Asked whether the nickname reporters have given his campaign bus, the "dodge caravan," for allegations he dodges reporters' questions in favour of talking points, Hudak replied:
"I laid out my plan and I'm answering your questions here today about what my plan is."