THUNDER BAY -- Kathleen Wynne is daring to go where her predecessor refused.
The Ontario premier on Thursday challenged Conservative Leader Tim Hudak and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath to a Northern Ontario debate if an election is called. Less than three years ago former premier Dalton McGuinty refused to take part in a similar debate, drawing scorn from Hudak and Horwath.
In a release issued in Fort Frances, where Wynne is taking part in the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association`s annual meeting, the premier said it’s time for her opponents to get serious about northern growth.
The ruling Liberals are expected to table their budget next Thursday. Hudak has promised to vote against it regardless of what it contains, leaving Horwath to either support the government or force an election.
“I hope the other two parties do the right thing and support our budget. I hope they will put the public good ahead of their partisanship. But if the other parties don`t support this plan and instead send the province to an election, then I will call on the other party leaders to come to the North and discuss these issues at a Northern Leaders debate,” Wynne stated.
Horwath was quick to accept.
"The Liberals have ignored the needs of Northern Ontario for too long. I'm happy to debate Kathleen Wynne and Tim Hudak on northern issues anywhere in the north, any time," she said in a release.
Hudak also agreed to join the fun, though he said he's ready to go right now.
"Why wait for an election. I will be in Northern Ontario in a couple of weeks and hope to see Kathleen Wynne and Andrea Horwath there," Hudak said.