TORONTO – NDP Leader Andrea Horwath touted her transit plan for the province by airing past Liberal scandals on the campaign trail Thursday, saying her party was the only one that would responsibly invest in much needed infrastructure.
Horwath, who has been taking routine jabs at the Liberals for what she calls their “corrupt” record, said Ontario residents deserve a government that would make reducing long commutes a priority.
“We need to take the priorities of people seriously and invest their dollars in a way that makes sense,” she said in downtown Toronto after emerging from a nearby subway station.
Horwath said spending scandals under the Liberal government, like mismanagement at eHealth Ontario and the Ornge air ambulance service, have meant “billions upon billions of dollars” that could have been used for transit are going elsewhere.
“We are going to make sure that we clean up this corruption,” she said. “That we focus on the priorities of people and we get our transit systems in a place that people can rely on and use in a way that gets them around town in a much more efficient way.”
The NDP would raise the corporate tax rate from 11.5 to 12.5 per cent to pay for major projects like public transit expansion.
Both the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives have warned that the NDP promise could put jobs at risk, but Horwath said it’s a needed step that would work.
“We care about a taxation system that’s fair and that makes sense,” she said. “That’s why we’re going to roll up that corporate tax rate a tiny bit to help us with transit.”
The party would also dedicate $29 billion over ten years to fund transit and transportation projects, including a downtown relief subway line for Toronto and year-round daily commuter train service to St. Catharines and Niagara.
The NDP has additionally promised to widen 60 kilometres of highways across the province every year, at least half of which will be in the north.
Horwath has faced criticism for triggering the election when many of her platform ideas, including her plans for transit, were mirrored in the Liberal budget she refused to support at the beginning of May.
But when asked Thursday if she had any regrets, Horwath shrugged off the suggestion, saying she wasn’t going to “pre-suppose” the results of the election.
“People have been telling me…they’re tried of a wasteful, corrupt Liberal government that has not kept their promises, that has not ensured that basics are taken care of in this province,” she said.
“I look forward to the choice that people make, and the choice that they make is the right choice.”
Ontario goes to the polls on June 12.
© The Canadian Press, 2014