THUNDER BAY – The release of the Liberal platform was met with scepticism by Mary Kozorys, NDP Candidate for Thunder Bay-Atikokan, and Steve Mantis, NDP Candidate for Thunder Bay-Superior North.
The two candidates were echoing the views of other attendees at the Monday’s Labour Day picnic at the Lakehead Labour Centre.
“Working families in Northern Ontario don’t believe Liberal promises,” stated Mantis. “People came up to me at the picnic and told me that after eight long years, they don’t trust McGuinty’s Liberals. Not just in what they’re saying but in what they aren’t telling us. They didn’t promise the HST on hydro and home heating, but that’s what we got.”
Mantis and Kozorys charge that the Liberals can’t be trusted to fix the problems they created in the first place:
- Post-secondary education: Average undergraduate tuition fees in Ontario are $6,307 a year, the highest in Canada. The Liberals let tuition fees rise 25 per cent for undergrads since 2005 (Statistics Canada);
- Care for seniors: 10,000 people are waiting for home care (Auditor General) and wait times for long term care have tripled (Ontario Health Quality Council) One investigation found the “$1.1 billion strategy is failing many seniors by not providing the care they need to continue living at home” (Toronto Star, February 18, 2011);
- Support for Northern Communities: With mills shut down and more than 40,000 Northern Ontario forestry jobs lost, the Liberal government put forest allotments up for bid. The holders of these allotments are shipping lumber and jobs out of communities.
“McGuinty’s government boasted about over a billion dollars to help the forest industry, but this assistance never materialized and much of that money has never been spent,” said Kozorys. “It’s little wonder that there isn’t a word in the platform that addresses this problem. Not that anyone would trust them to fix the problems they’ve created.”
Both Kozorys and Mantis renewed NDP Leader Andrea Horwath’s call for two additional debates, including one located in Northern Ontario. “Let’s discuss the issues and the track record,” said Kozorys. “Ontario families should get a real glimpse into their prospective premiers, not negative attack ads.”
The NDP leader has yet to confirm her attendance at the Northern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA) debate in Thunder Bay. That Leader’s Debate would be the only Northern Leader’s Debate.