Ontario Heading to the Polls
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Ontario Heading to the Polls

NDP confirms it will vote against the budget the Liberals unveiled yesterday, triggering an election.

Andrea Horwath announcing her party’s rejection of the Liberal budget.

Yesterday, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath broke with tradition and declined to comment on the draft budget unveiled by the minority Liberal government. Today, she made her position clear, confirming in a press conference that her caucus has decided unanimously that it cannot support the Liberals any longer. The NDP will be voting against the budget bill—a confidence motion—and in the process, will bring down the government and trigger an election.

Though the Liberal budget was widely characterized as NDP-friendly, and several major unions—a key base of support for the NDP—urged Horwath to support it, today she said that “I have lost confidence in Kathleen Wynne and her ability to deliver. I cannot in good conscience support a government that people don’t trust anymore.”

The full transcript of her remarks:

My leadership has always been about real lives, real problems, and real people—that’s who I am. And it’s clear to me that minority government is about working together to achieve results. It’s not about standing on the sidelines and running your mouth. Results matter, and that’s what I focus on.

I know that when you send your hard-earned tax dollars to Queen’s Park, you expect to see results. You don’t expect to see your tax dollars wasted—wasted on the partisanship that was the gas plant scandal, on the embarrassment that was ORNGE, on the mismanagement of the Windsor Parkway.

It’s time for Kathleen Wynne to take responsibility. It’s as if she really doesn’t even live in the real world. In the real world, if you make a mistake, you own up to it or face the consequences. At Queen’s Park, you wipe the hard drive and hope you can get away with it.

In the real world, you’re adding up every bill at the kitchen table to see if you can squeeze out some savings. At Queen’s Park, public sector CEOs buy themselves speedboats with your money and cabinet ministers are chauffeured to and from work every day.

In the real world, you can work the same job for 10 years and never even get a raise. At Queen’s Park, a CEO that’s driving up hydro rates gets a bonus that’s more than most people make in an entire year.

After yesterday’s budget, I thought long and hard about the many promises the Liberals are making. I was reminded of the promises the Liberals made last year: Kathleen Wynne promised a reduction in auto insurance rates, an accountability officer, and significant action on home care. Yet families keep seeing auto insurance bills climb even while the government insists the rates are coming down. The financial accountability office that was supposed to be up and running last December is still sitting empty. And seniors are still left waiting weeks for home care that should be available to them within five days of being assessed.

The same government that couldn’t fill these three promises in the last last year is making more than 70 new promises this year. How can Kathleen Wynne build a ship when she hasn’t even managed to build a raft?

Despite all of these grand promises, there are still no plans to get the basics right—like creating jobs, like lowering hydro rates, and making life more affordable for people.

I have lost confidence in Kathleen Wynne and her ability to deliver. I cannot in good conscience support a government that people don’t trust anymore.

Instead of fixing the mess in our electricity system, the Liberals want to drive hydro rates higher with a fire sale of our assets in a rerun of the failed privatization of Ontario Hydro by the Conservatives. You don’t heat the house by burning the furniture.

There’s no plan to reward job creators in this budget or offer relief to small businesses. Instead, the Liberals are offering more of the same ideas, promising even more handouts to corporations that ship jobs away.

This budget is not a solid plan for the future—it’s a mad dash to escape the scandals by promising the moon and the stars.

Well, I’m not the kind of woman that believes those kinds of promises. I come from a simpler place. Promising is good: making good on those promises is better.

You deserve action, not just aspirations. You can’t pay your bills with aspirations. Aspirations won’t keep your neighbourhood school open. Aspirations won’t ensure that health care is there when you need it.

It’s time for change. You deserve a better government—a government that values people’s tax dollars, a government that makes life affordable, a government that stands up for the middle class, a government that makes sense.

So, as I’ve said: I have lost confidence in Kathleen Wynne and in her ability to deliver. I cannot in good conscience support this government, a government that people simply don’t trust anymore.

It’s time for Queen’s Park to work for you.