May 5, 2014 6:15 pm

Ontario Election: NDP kicks off campaign in Brampton

Watch video above: NDP kicks off campaign in Brampton. Jackson Proskow reports. 

BRAMPTON, Ont. – NDP Leader Andrea Horwath began her first full week of campaigning with plenty of talk about offering voters a choice in the upcoming Ontario election, but provided little detail on what exactly that choice would be.

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Horwath, who spent Monday meeting with business owners at a Brampton shopping plaza before speaking with students at local high school, said her party had a plan, but she wouldn’t spell it out just yet.

“The campaign is on…We will be laying out our vision, our plan for Ontario over the course of that campaign,” she told reporters who asked her just when the NDP’s vision would be unveiled.

“What this is about is listening to the concerns of Ontarians who are tired of the scandals and the waste, tired of a government that can’t seem to get results…and giving them a choice.”

The Liberals have said the New Democrats have no plan to govern Ontario and offer only vague ideas, while the Progressive Conservatives have said the NDP was to blame for propping up the Liberal government for far too long, despite up to $1.1 billion being “wasted” to cancel two gas plants.

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Horwath, however, said her party offers an alternative to the scandal-plagued Liberals that got no results, and the Progressive Conservative, who have “spent a lot of time making noise and causing trouble.”

“We’re ready to roll up our sleeves, listen to Ontarians, put their priorities first,” she said.

But concrete details on what an NDP government would bring were lacking.

Horwath did not say whether her party would offer an Ontario pension plan, a key plank in the Liberal platform which has been rejected as a job-killing tax by the Tories.

Nor would she reveal the New Democrats’ plans for education when high school students asked her what she planned to do to combat high tuition fees and improve access to post-secondary education.

“We’ve got a platform together but we haven’t actually made it public yet so I unfortunately can’t give you the scoop at this point in time,” Horwath told a room full of teenagers with a smile. “But we have been really the only party that’s been advocating to make sure that tuition becomes more affordable for students.”

Horwath set the stage for the election on Friday by announcing she’d lost confidence in Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government and wouldn’t support the Liberal budget, which had many measures that would have been palatable to NDP supporters.

Some observers have suggested the NDP might become a victim of strategic voting at the polls next month – with NDP supporters voting Liberal to prevent a Tory government – but Horwath shrugged off questions on the matter.

“I believe the people of this province are looking forward to an election that’s about hope and not fear. I urge them to look at what the various parties are offering and think about the kind of province that we can build today,” she said.

“I think on June 12 I will be very respectful and know that that choice is the right choice because it comes from the people of Ontario.”

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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