By Mike Pearson, News staff
New Democratic Party leader Andrea Horwath must decide how long her party will prop up a minority Liberal government mired in spending scandals, Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak said during a community gathering in Mount Hope on Sunday.
Hudak, MPP for Niagara West-Glanbrook, issued an open letter to Horwath over the weekend which questions her party’s support for the Liberals on confidence motions.
With NDP support, the Liberals passed back-to-back budgets and a speech from the throne, effectively averting an election.
Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals have also come under fire after the province’s auditor general estimated a decision to relocate two gas fired power plants cost taxpayers $1.1 billion. Both plants were originally destined for Liberal-held ridings in Oakville and Mississauga.
During his 16th annual hog roast at the Mount Hope Community Hall, Hudak said the $1.1 billion could have financed a new Niagara-area hospital, or cleared up wait times for MRIs and CT scans.
Hudak believes voters are ready for change.
“In Glanbrook, Niagara and Haldimand, we can do a lot better than this,” said Hudak.
The leader of the official opposition reiterated his plan to add 300,000 manufacturing jobs while scrapping Liberal plans to expand industrial wind turbines in rural communities.
Hudak said he is willing to find common ground with Horwath and the NDP, but won’t support higher taxes and more government.
“We’ve already maxed out the credit card,” he said.
During a visit to Hamilton in September, Wynne mused about a general election either this fall or next spring, if the Tories and NDP vote down the government in a confidence motion.
Wynne acknowledged her minority government’s missteps, such as the gas plants, the billion-dollar eHealth scandal and financial mismanagement at Ornge air ambulance.
But Wynne said the Liberals have delivered on the issues that are important to Hamilton, such as increasing the social assistance funding in an effort to alleviate the city’s poverty problems, addressing infrastructure questions and rejuvenating health care.
Over the last few provincial elections, the Liberals have lost Hamilton East-Stoney Creek and Hamilton Mountain ridings to NDP candidates, including the defeat of former cabinet minister and Mountain MPP Sophia Aggelonitis in 2011, where now the NDP dominates the Hamilton area.
NDP leader Andrea Horwath remains dominant as Hamilton Centre’s MPP.
-With files from Kevin Werner