Jobs are sole issue in Ont. election campaign: Hudak
Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, May 7, 2014 11:30AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 7, 2014 1:54PM EDT
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. -- The Liberals and New Democrats want to turn the campaign for the June 12 election into a popularity contest instead of focusing on jobs, Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak said Wednesday.
As far as Hudak is concerned jobs are the only real issue of the campaign, but at his first campaign stop of the day at a factory in Mississauga, he was light on details about how the Conservatives plan to lower electricity rates, reduce the debt and create one million jobs.
"I have no doubt this will be a single issue campaign and my thoughts are with the people who don't have a job right now," he said. "I'm with you, but the Liberals and (Leader) Kathleen Wynne, all they're focused on is a half-dozen Liberal MPPs and insiders, to get them a job, and quite frankly, they don't deserve it."
Hudak could not avoid questions about his own popularity, however, after Peter Shurman -- the former Tory finance critic who quit politics after a dispute with Hudak over expenses -- predicted that Wynne will win the election with another Liberal minority.
"The other two leaders, it's clear they're going to run a personality contest," Hudak said when asked about Shurman's prediction. "They're going to promise you all kinds of things each and every day, but they know in their hearts they can't afford them. That's not me. I'm the guy with the turnaround plan to get Ontario working again."
"I think that Tim is fairly robotic," said Shurman said in an interview with The Canadian Press. "He's the best I've ever seen at staying on message, and that's to a fault. I look at Kathleen Wynne ... I find she comes across as sincere."
Campaigning in Kitchener, Wynne said she welcomed Shurman's endorsement.
"It's very interesting that Peter Shurman, who has been a Conservative MPP, is looking at our plan," she said. "He's seeing the substance, and he sees that we are the best positioned to make the right decisions for the people of Ontario."
Shurman, however, never mentioned the Liberals' plan in his comments.
Hudak has acknowledged that he can't win any popularity contests, but said people will elect the Tories because of their policies.
"If you want to elect a leader who is more interested in short-term popularity ... the good news is you have two choices: Ms. Horwath and Ms. Wynne," he said. "But if you want a premier who's going to have a turnaround plan, look at me. Look at my plan."
Wynne said Hudak's plan to slash the size of government and to end what he calls "corporate welfare" will end up costing Ontario jobs, but the PC leader said the Liberals and New Democrats would drive Ontario further into debt just to get elected.
"I'm concerned that Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals and Andrea Horwath and the NDP will spend every day talking about how much more they're going to spend," said Hudak. "I have one priority, and that's a million new jobs."
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