THUNDER BAY – Politics – NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and her MPPs have a choice facing them. The fate of the Wynne Government lies in the vote that the New Democrats will make on the Ontario Budget.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says she plans to talk to Ontario families about how the Budget meets their challenges and how it can be made accountable to deliver real results that will improve health care, create jobs and make life affordable while taking responsible and prudent steps to balance the books.
Andrea Horwath decides Wynne Government’s future
“The people of Ontario made it clear that they didn’t want to be taken for granted when they elected a minority government in 2011. They sent a clear message. They wanted us to work hard for them to achieve real results and we’re going to work with them to make this Budget accountable,” said Horwath. “We need to make sure this Budget delivers on the affordable, responsible change people want to see.”
Horwath is in a political box. If the New Democrats call an election there is lots of political ground gaining potential. The New Democrats are behind the Progressive Conservatives in the polls right now, but polling in Ontario is volatile.
Should the New Democrats decide to support the Liberals, it will, many speculate, very hard for the party to fully hold the Wynne Government’s feet to the fire on many of the issues facing Ontario.
Before the Legislative session began this year, New Democrats put forward a series of proposals that would create jobs for young people, ensure that no one who was approved for home care was left waiting longer than five days and make life more affordable for families by lowering auto insurance rates by 15 percent over the next year. These proposals were fully and prudently costed to ensure that not one nickel was added to Ontario’s deficit. With this Budget Liberals have addressed some of these key issues but the lack of timelines and firm commitments make it far from clear that the added investment will deliver the promised results for families. While the Liberals have announced new spending measures, the NDP’s proposed cost-savings like capping hospital CEO salaries and implementing a prudent healthcare purchasing policy were not included.
“We will be consulting with Ontarians, because families need to have their say on this Budget, and how to make it work for them,” said Horwath. “We want to bring accountability to this Budget, and ensure that public dollars won’t be wasted like they were on eHealth, Ornge and the gas plants. We will be talking to Ontarians about how we can put guarantees in place so that people know that money is being spent prudently and responsibly on the priorities that matter to them.”
It is a big decision, a leadership decision. Andrea Horwath always comes across in public as a very personable and likeable person. That is important to many people. As well is the image of a leader being able to make strong and needed decisions. Likely Andrea Horwath and the New Democrats are at a leadership crossroads right now.
While it might be ‘nice’ to offer that there should be respect to voters, there is also the need to be respectful of Ontario and the province’s future. Likely that is the debate happening inside the New Democrat caucus today.