KENORA, Ont. -- The three candidates to be the next premier of Ontario all took their turn on stage during this week's Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association conference.
While Premier Kathleen Wynne, Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford and Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath never directly interacted with one another in Kenora, there were several common themes that were prominent during each of their speeches and subsequent media availability with Wynne and Horwath.
Below are a collection of quotes from the leaders addressing several different topics.
RING OF FIRE
Ford: “We’re going to build that road to the Ring of Fire.”
Wynne: “(Ford) has said he will drive a bulldozer to build that road. He’ll just bulldoze through and build that road. A bulldozer will not get that done with a political leader on it. The reality is you have to work in relationship. We have to work and make sure that we do this in the right way and the fact is the work has already begun.”
Horwath: “The Wynne Liberals have failed to make meaningful progress on the Ring of Fire. Kathleen Wynne doesn’t seem to understand that forming a secretariat isn’t the same as getting shovels in the ground. Now, we know a certain someone who wants to bring a bulldozer up here.”
Horwath: “I’m going to fix the problems in long-term care so our loved ones can actually live with the safety and dignity they deserve in their golden years without being kept on waiting lists for months and months and sometimes years on end and without being forced to be separated from their spouse.”
Ford: “We’re going to open up 15,000 new long-term care beds in five years and an additional 15,000 – totalling 30,000 – over the next 10 years including beds that are needed right here in Northern Ontario.”
Wynne: “The aging demographic means there is a need for more home care. We’re making an investment in home care and there is a need for more long-term care. Building 30,000 beds, 5,000 beds over the next three or four years to get people who are ready, they can’t stay at home anymore and they need a place to be.”
Wynne: “We know if we were building the medicare system today, we would have free prescription medication. There would be a pharmacare plan. There would be pharamacare and there would be dental care. We have started by providing free prescription medication for kids … and we’re going to expand that to seniors.”
Horwath: “We’re going to introduce the first truly universal pharmacare program for our province. A plan that’s going to not only ensure that everyone can get the prescription drugs they need – below 25, over 25, over 65, younger than 65 – that’s what universality is. It means everybody can get the pharmacare they need.”
Horwath: “Northern and rural communities, for example, families and businesses will pay the same delivery costs as urban customers pay. We’re going to bring Hydro One back in full public ownership and full control and oversight.”
Ford: “I hear from people who are frustrated. They’re frustrated when they can’t pay their hydro bills and they’re frustrated when they hear the CEO of Hydro One is making $6 million a year. They’re frustrated when they hear he’s not only making $6 million a year, he’s giving all his executives who are making millions of dollars in salaries - $14 million of your money. While they can barely afford to keep the lights on, people are at the end of their ropes.
Horwath: “We’re going to regulate gas prices so that every week you’re going to know what the price of gas is and you’re going to know that it’s not going to change until a week later on the same day.”
Wynne: “This really is an area where there aren’t any easy solutions. What I’d like to do is make sure we have a way of looking at this. We need a watchdog on this. I think there’s a national conversation about that but we’re certainly looking at how we can better monitor those prices.”
INDUSTRY SUPPORT VS. CORPORATE WELFARE
Wynne: “To suggest that government supporting and working with businesses to make sure they can expand and they can grow is somehow something government shouldn’t do I think is incredibly wrongheaded. I think if we look at industry in this province for decades there has been a need for government to work with them, whether it’s the auto sector, whether it’s forestry and whether it’s steel. There are good strong examples of where government support for a percentage of the investment helps the company to leverage that and grow.”
Ford: “Too many tax dollars are going to corporate welfare and for the connected insiders. We’re going to replace the corporate welfare and instead lower taxes and stabilize costs and hydro costs and cut red tape and bureaucracy.”
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