By Kevin Werner, News Staff
Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak called on his MPPs to support him as he attempts to hold Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government accountable for the scandals that have cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
During a news conference at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario inOttawaAug. 19, he urged all his MPPs to “unite behind me” as the Tories look to bring down the government.
“We can spend time fighting amongst ourselves,” or battling the Liberal government, he said.
He suggested within three to four months there could be another provincial election.
Hudak reiterated that his caucus colleagues are strongly “behind me.”
Hudak is battling a rearguard action against his leadership as a small number of party activists and a few Tory MPPs call for a leadership review at the party’s Sept. 21-22 policy convention inLondon.
MPPs Frank Klees and Randy Hillier, who both sought the leadership in 2009 that was taken by Hudak, have been touring the province taking about allowing party members to “have their concerns heard.”
Klees, also attending the AMO convention, said the party will be “holding the Liberals accountable” for the scandals that have occurred.
“We look forward to getting back to the Legislature,” he said.
The dissent from members of the London-Fanshawe PC riding association soon after the Tories lost what they had expected to be an easy win in the recent Aug. 1 byelection race. The Tories took only one riding among the five byelections that were held. They won the firstTorontoriding since 1999, but political strategists believe it was because ofTorontomayor Rob Ford and not Hudak’s influence.
The Tory leader did receive a 78.7 per cent approval rating in February 2012 after the Tories failed to win the 2011 provincial election in a race that Hudak led.
Tory House Leader Jim Wilson has called the dissenting MPPs “misguided” and they should “have their heads examined.”
Hudak said during a news conference he expects to have an activist agenda against the government, including pushing for bills to allow for open tendering process for municipalities and to reform the arbitration process that decides on municipal contracts for police and firefighters.
The Tories are preparing to introduce a second contempt motion Sept. 9 the day the Legislature returns. The motion involves the justice committee not being allowed to ask questions of a Liberal staffer over emails that reveal some Liberals trying to get Speaker Dave Levac to change the parliamentary finding of his contempt ruling against the government.