PCs to test confidence of Liberal government

File Photo of Tim Hudak.
File Photo of Tim Hudak.

TORONTO – Ontario’s New Democrats made it clear Wednesday they are not prepared to scratch the Progressive Conservatives’ nagging itch for a snap election by supporting a motion that would test the confidence of the minority Liberal government.

“It seems like Mr. Hudak simply can’t pass up an opportunity to throw another gimmick out there and show how ineffective he is,” said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak said his party introduced a non-binding motion asking if the legislature has confidence in Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals in an effort to force the NDP to stop propping up the government.

The auditor general’s estimate that it will cost up to $1.1 billion to cancel two gas plants to save Liberal seats in the 2011 election should be enough for Horwath to say she will help defeat the government, added Hudak.

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“The Liberals’ corruption stares her in the face each and every day, but every time that Andrea Horwath is asked to prop up the government, she’s ‘ready, aye ready’ to do whatever the Liberals want,” he said.

“The gas plants scandal tells us the Liberals simply cannot be trusted to run the province of Ontario any more. It’s time to draw a line in the sand and put our confidence in the government to the test.”

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The Progressive Conservative motion, which will be debated during an Opposition day next week, is not a true confidence motion and the results would not be binding on the government. That means it’s another stunt by Hudak, said Horwath.

“It’s clear that nothing has changed since the last time he threw out one of these salvos,” she said.

“He can stand on his head and spit nickels or he can do back flips all he wants, but the bottom line is these gimmicks, these games do not a change make in terms of the capacity of him or I to actually create a situation where the government will fall.”

But Wynne would have a hard time ignoring such a resolution if it was passed by a majority of members in the legislature, said Hudak.

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“If this passes it’s a question for Premier Wynne: if the house says they don’t have confidence in her, does she have the moral authority to actually govern any more,” he said. “And it’s a question for Andrea Horwath: is she on the side of the Liberals or is she on the side of Ontarians who want to see change? It’s that simple.”

Wynne declined comment on Hudak’s confidence motion, saying only that she wants to keep governing and avoid an election.

“Our intention is to continue to work within the legislature to govern,” said Wynne.

Hudak wrote an open letter to Horwath on Sunday, saying he was “shocked” the New Democrats were not fed up with the Liberals’ behaviour and ready to try and bring down the minority government.

“The moral bankruptcy and corruptness of the Liberal government of Ontario is now patently obvious to the majority of Ontarians,” wrote Hudak.

“I remain somewhat astounded that you and your party don’t grasp that continuing to prop up the Wynne government by being at its beck and call is doing Ontario no favours.”

Last week, the Conservatives introduced a motion to force the Liberal party to pay back the money spent on the cancelled gas plants. Even though the New Democrats supported it, the Tories failed to have enough members in the house for the vote, so the Liberals were able to defeat the motion by a single vote, 27-to-26.

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PC insiders vow that won’t happen when the vote on the confidence motion comes up next Wednesday, saying they want the legislature to clearly express a lack of confidence in the Liberals.

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