(By: Jonathan Bradley)
Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath has unveiled parts of her party’s platform this week.
Horwath said that the NDP would focus on deprivatizing Hydro One, implementing universal pharmacare and dental coverage for all Ontarians, lowering wait times for healthcare services, raising taxes for corporations and the wealthiest people, and converting student loans to grants.
Horwath said that these five policy points were part of a preview of the NDP’s full campaign platform, which would be unveiled within the next few weeks.
“We are going to run the biggest campaign the NDP has ever run in Ontario,” Horwath told supporters at a campaign event over the weekend. “It will show everyone why we are running and why we are running to win.”
She said the party would hold Canada’s government accountable for Indigenous issues, pointing to the lack of clean drinking water in some Ontario First Nations communities. She also said the party would increase support for public transit and affordable housing.
Horwath said the party’s plan starkly contrasts policies promised by Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford, who has vowed to cut $6 billion in public spending.
“(Ford) says he’ll ‘leave no stone unturned’ in his hunt to privatize what belongs to the people of Ontario,” she said. “Cutting jobs and services, selling off our public assets; that’s not change.”
She did not say if her platform would involve running a larger deficit than the Liberal party’s current budget. Instead, she criticized Premier Kathleen Wynne, declaring that voters are tired of broken promises and want change after 15 years of the Liberal party being in power.
Wynne put out a statement after Horwath’s speech, saying that she accepted “many of the ideas brought forward by the NDP” but that the Liberal party would soon unveil their own platform aimed at supporting public services.
Ford put out a statement after Horwath’s speech that said the PC’s would work to improve Ontario.
“A PC government will lower hydro rates, scrap Kathleen Wynne and Justin Trudeau’s expensive carbon tax, end hallway healthcare, ensure students are ready for the workforce, and bring good paying jobs back to our province and accountability back to Queen’s Park,” said Ford. “It’s time for a change in Ontario. It’s time to respect the taxpayer again.”
A recent online poll conducted by Leger suggested that 15 per cent of respondents believe Horwath is the best candidate to be Ontario’s premier. There were 13 per cent of respondents who said that Wynne is the best candidate to be premier. In contrast, 24 per cent of respondents preferred Ford.
Ontario’s election is set for June 7.
(Header photo courtesy of The Globe and Mail)