By Kevin Werner, News Staff
While NDP leader Andrea Horwath took aim at her political rivals during her nomination meeting May 3, it will take Ontarians a few more days before the party will be introducing its platform to the public.
Horwath and the majority of her 20-member caucus supported the decision to force a provincial election despite a Liberal budget that included a number of NDP-friendly programs. But the NDP leader turned her back on the document telling about 300 supporters at Sarcoa Restaurant and Bar on the waterfront because the Liberals were in a “mad dash to escape the scandals by promising the moon and the stars.”
Horwath announced May 2 her party wasn’t going vote for the budget, forcing Premier Kathleen Wynne to call an election for June 12. The writ is expected to drop this week.
Horwath said during the nomination meeting the public doesn’t trust the Liberals, nor should they believe anything the Progressive Conservatives and leader Tim Hudak will do if they win. Horwath said Premier Kathleen Wynne remains tied to the $1.1 billion gas plant, Ornge and eHealth scandals because she was in the cabinet when all of those problems happened.
“(The public) is frustrated by a government that doesn’t listen,” she said.
As for Hudak, his plan to “drive down wages has not been a new idea since they started pushing it in Alabama half a century ago.”
Horwath was acclaimed as the Hamilton Centre NDP provincial candidate.
Ward 4 councillor Sam Merulla welcomed a provincial election saying the Liberals are “so dirty, they can’t even sleep with their clothes on.”
Hamilton Mountain MPP Monique Taylor says the public shouldn’t trust the Liberals to fulfill their promises. It was one of the reasons why Horwath decided not to support the budget.
“How can they put 70 new options forward when they couldn’t keep three in the last budget,” she said, referring to lowering auto insurance rates, creating an accountability office, and boosting homecare funds, to get the NDP to vote for the budget last year.
Horwath, also known as the “Steeltown Scrapper,” said NDP MP David Christopherson, has embraced the name over her 10 years at Queen’s Park. She has made a habit of beginning her election campaigns in her hometown, and this time was no different.
“I’m damn proud where I’m from,” she said.
The NDP leader indicated later the party’s platform could include some of the ideas that were showcased in the Liberal budget. But she also hinted it will have policies she has talked about in the past, including cutting hospital CEO salaries, and levying more taxes on corporations. But the MPPs and the leader didn’t say when that platform will be released.
“We will put out a platform when it’s time for a platform,” said Taylor.
The Liberal budget contained higher taxes on corporations and people making more than $150,000, increases in the minimum wage, and higher benefits for people on social assistances, a boost in transit funding, and an outline to create a new Ontario pension plan by 2017.
But those proposals, say the NDP, are nothing but fantasy.
“Andrea’s line was the best, (Premier Wynne) couldn’t build a raft, how possibly could she build a ship?” said Taylor.
During the afternoon event, Christopherson, who introduced Horwath to the cheering throng of people, said it was essential for Hamiltonians to “have (Horwath’s) back” as she campaigns to become the next premier.
Joining the boisterous crowd were NDP MPPs Paul Miller, and Wayne Gates, MP Wayne Marston, councillors Sam Merulla and Scott Duvall, mayoral candidates Brian McHattie and Ejaz Butt, and council candidate Tim Simmons.