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Wynne would reintroduce budget within 20 days after vote

By Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne at Tuesday's debate. (REUTERS)

Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne at Tuesday's debate. (REUTERS)

The Ontario Liberals would put parliament back to work within 20 days to pass the budget they introduced this spring, Kathleen Wynne says.

“I think it is very clear now that the NDP and the Tories do not have a plan to take Ontario forward,” Wynne said at a post-debate rally Wednesday in Vaughan attended by hundreds of supporters. “If we are re-elected on June 12, we will convene the legislature in 20 days and we will immediately reintroduce our budget.

“If anybody thinks that there’s a rest after we are elected, that is not happening.”

Wynne said she would proceed in this manner even if she wins a minority government, putting immediate pressure on NDP Leader Andrea Horwath to back the same budget she rejected only last month.

If the Tories win a minority, Wynne indicated she would let them govern, even though she could seek out a coalition with the NDP to topple them.

“I have said repeatedly that whoever wins the most seats in the election has the right to form government, and that has been my opinion all along,” she said.

Horwath said she won’t prop up a Tory minority government that plans to cut 100,000 public sector jobs.

“Nor do I have any intention of supporting a corrupt Liberal Party,” she said Wednesday, adding she’s running to be premier.

The PCs also have a plan to get to work right away and would introduce a “mini budget” that would begin cutting government spending, Tim Hudak said during a town hall in Ajax.

“I don’t want to give her 20 days,” Hudak said of Wynne’s plan. “We’ll act fast because we have no time to waste.”

Most pundits are naming Hudak as the winner of the Tuesday’s election debate that saw the three major political leaders clash over cancelled gas plants, bad math and the economy.

Wynne’s rally drew a lot of public sector workers, including firefighters, who are concerned about the impact of Hudak’s promise to cut 100,000 positions from the provincial payroll.

Hudak said he would handle most of the job cuts through attrition and is sticking with his pledge to freeze public sector pay until the provincial budget is balanced.

“The reality is that we’ve had some government workers like firefighters that have had an over 30% wage increase under this (Liberal) government,” he said. “Teachers are in the same ballpark.”

Hudak repeated his vow made during the debate that he will resign if he doesn’t fulfil his campaign promises.

Wynne called Hudak’s commitment a “gimmick.”

“The battle lines are very clearly drawn and I will need every person that agrees with that to stand with us to stop Tim Hudak from being the premier of the province,” Wynne told the rally.

“Tim Hudak says that he will resign if he can’t keep his promises to put tens of thousands of people out of work. He offers a money back guarantee, but does he offer the 100,000 people he puts out of work a jobs back guarantee?”

Updates from Queen's Park bureau chief Antonella Artuso: Click here for a mobile-friendly link.


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