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By Mike Pickford
Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones has vowed to work alongside new Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario leader Doug Ford ahead of this summer's provincial election.
Shockwaves were felt across Ontario last Saturday (March 10) when, late on, it was revealed Mr. Ford had beaten early frontrunner Christine Elliott for the right to lead the PCs into battle with Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne.
Mr. Ford made Dufferin County his last campaign stop ahead of the vote last week when he spoke to a crowd of more than 100 local residents at the Nifty Nook restaurant on Highway 10. There, he touched on several hot-button topics, stating he would not allow a carbon tax to be instituted in Ontario and that he would seek to repeal and review the province's new sex education curriculum, before declaring, under his stead, that Ontario would be “reopened for business”.
“Friends, I am here today to assure you that we as a province can do better. We as a province should do better. And, if I'm elected (as the next premier of Ontario), we as a province will do better,” Mr. Ford told local residents. “We will beat down the doors and announce that Ontario is once again open for business.”
Ms. Jones was amongst those in attendance. As deputy leader of the provincial PCs, Ms. Jones remained neutral throughout the leadership process. Still, when speaking to media this week, she admitted she was “a little bit” surprised by the results of the weekend vote. That hasn't prevented her from throwing her support behind her new leader, noting the importance of a united PC front in the upcoming election.
“Doug's experience in government, business and his leadership in the community will get the province back on the path to prosperity,” Ms. Jones said. “Doug has energized the PC Party's grassroots based on a call for respect for taxpayers, and I am looking forward to working with him to defeat the Wynne Liberals.”
She added, “I would like to thank the three other candidates for the PC leadership for their work in growing our party and their efforts seeking the support of our membership. The last two months have been an intense and dramatic time for our party. I am now committed to working with my PC caucus colleagues and nominated candidates to come out of this leadership election united. Ontarians are tired of the 15 years of Liberal waste and mismanagement. We owe it to the people of Ontario to make sure our party delivers a PC government in 2018.”
The local Liberal candidate in the upcoming election, Bob Gordanier, issued a statement following the weekend vote, asserting that the PCs could no longer call themselves a progressive party.
“There is nothing progressive about them,” Mr. Gordanier said. “They are no longer pretending to be moderate – the Conservatives are fully committed to a right-wing agenda of cuts” under Doug Ford.
Mr. Gordanier cited an article that appeared in Maclean's magazine by independent economist Mike Moffat in which he determined that the Conservative cuts would mean at least 40,000 fewer jobs in Ontario's public sector, with nurses, doctors, teachers, university professors and firefighters all expected to be threatened.
“Ford is on the extreme side of Conservatism. He wants to roll it back,” Mr. Gordanier stated, in relation to the recently implemented increase to minimum wage. “Does that mean a pay cut to our lowest paid workers? This is not at all surprising. This is what Conservatives do historically. They always make cuts.”
Green Party candidate Laura Campbell thought Mr. Ford's election reflects the frustration Ontarians feel toward the Wynne government.
“His brand of populism is trendy right now,” she observed, adding it shows people are ready for change. “So far, he hasn't actually proposed any concrete ideas. I'm curious to see how he thinks he can fix the deficit,” she added, noting it's a huge problem that will need all the parties working together to solve.
- With files from Bill Rea
Post date: 2018-03-16 13:57:12
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