By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday May 9, 2014
Kathleen Wynne takes more shots at Stephen Harper, says federal Tories hurting Ontario’s economy
Only Ontario’s Liberals can stand up to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is ignoring the needs of the people in Canada’s most populous province, Premier Kathleen Wynne said Thursday.
Wynne took another swipe at Harper while campaigning for the June 12 election a short distance from Parliament Hill, repeating her long-standing complaint that Ontario puts $11 billion more into federal coffers than it gets back.
Speaking at an event organized by the Canada 2020 think-tank, the Liberal leader said that the prime minister’s tone-deaf attitude is jeopardizing Ontario’s fragile economic recovery.
“Right now, we have a federal government that actually is doing more to hurt that recovery than to help,” Wynne said.
“This year Ontario is going to receive $641 million less in major transfers from the federal government, and this is at a time when we can least afford the hit.”
Harper has also been silent on her challenge to match her party’s promise of $1 billion to build a transportation route to the mineral-rich Ring of Fire in northern Ontario, she said. The Conservatives have done more for the oil and gas industry than they have to help develop the massive but remote chromite deposit, which would create jobs in the hard-hit region and benefit struggling First Nations communities.
Wynne’s jabs at Harper have become a common occurrence on the first leg of the campaign, but date back to her rallying cry during a March 22 party convention where she called his antipathy towards pension reform “offensive and inexplicable.”
Her government proposed a mandatory made-in-Ontario pension plan after the federal Tories spurned their advances to enhance the Canada Pension Plan, saying it would be harmful to increase contributions from workers and employers until the economy gathers steam.
Harper panned the proposal last week, saying people prefer tax breaks as a reward for saving for retirement, rather than having their taxes hiked to force them to save. (Source: National Post)