Here’s our daily look at what’s making news on the Ontario campaign trail.
- Salaries at the partially privatized Hydro One were again in the news after it was revealed that board members had given themselves a $25,000 pay raise. “They have the nerve to increase their compensation,” Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford said at a rally outside Hydro One headquarters. “A part-time job — they were making $160,000 — they gave themselves a pay increase up to $185,000. Who does that?” Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne said that the pay increase was unacceptable and that that’s why her government has pushed the company to review its pay package. Hydro One, already facing public criticism over CEO Mayo Schmidt’s $6.2 million salary, responded to the latest furor in a statement: “Hydro One’s director compensation was in the bottom quartile relative to its peers. The changes were intended to bring director compensation ‘halfway to median.’”
- While political parties and voters might be concerned about Hydro One salaries, many of the company’s shareholders aren’t: it was announced Tuesday that they voted 92 per cent in favour of Hydro One’s executive compensation plan. The Ontario government, which is the single-largest shareholder, at 47 per cent, abstained from the non-binding vote because the company promised to review its salary structure regardless of the result. After the results of the vote had been announced, company chair David Denison reiterated that he and the rest of the board believe that CEO Mayo Schmidt’s multi-million-dollar salary is “appropriate.”
- Both Wynne and NDP leader Andrea Horwath are blasting Ford after one of his supporters twice shouted “Lock her up!” at a rally Monday night while the PC leader was talking about Wynne. (“Lock her up!” was a popular chant at Donald Trump’s rallies during his presidential campaign against Hillary Clinton.) “Let me be very clear: I don’t condone that. Simple as that. I don’t condone it,” Ford said Tuesday morning when asked about his supporter’s outburst. Wynne said Ford is responsible for stoking this kind of rhetoric through his style of campaigning. “It’s angry; it’s divisive,” she said.
- At a campaign stop in Waterloo, Wynne touted her party’s commitment to building an $11 billion high-speed-rail line through southwestern Ontario. She added that the NDP’s platform accidentally cut $33 million for an environmental assessment of the rail project and that the Tories have no plans for the project at all. The NDP responded in a statement that they are committed to continuing the high-speed-rail EA.
- The Liberals argued that renters will see skyrocketing rents under a Tory government, pointing to a video from March in which Ford said of rent control, “I just don’t like it. I like having the market dictate.” While the Progressive Conservatives issued a statement saying they would keep the status quo on rent controls, the Liberals insisted that was just part of a pattern of Ford’s reversing himself only when his unpopular views are caught on tape. “When Ford was caught on the Greenbelt, he pretended to care,” it said in its statement. “When Ford was caught on Tanya Granic Allen’s homophobia and Islamaphobia [sic], he pretended to care. Now that he is caught on rent control, Doug Ford is pretending to care.”
- Clifford Bull, PC candidate in the new northern riding of Kiiwetinoong, has parted ways with a campaign aide whom the media outlet Canadaland revealed had once posted on Twitter that "Islamism is not a true religion, it is a fraud being perpetrated on the world. They must be eradicated otherwise they will eradicate us." In a statement announcing his decision, Bull said, “There is no place for disrespectful or hateful comments in our Party.”
- TVO’s John Michael McGrath says that since the Green Party knows it won’t form the next government, it’s able to run on the courage of its convictions.
What to watch for
- This morning, Wynne will make an announcement at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Mississauga. She’ll be at Paramount Fine Foods, also in Mississauga, at 11:30 a.m. At 8 p.m., she’ll be in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata to deliver remarks at an Iftar dinner, for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
- Ford will make an announcement in Oakville at 11:30 a.m. He’ll tour Fielding Environmental in Mississauga at 2:30 p.m. and then conclude his day with a rally at the Mississauga Convention Centre at 7 p.m.
- Horwath will start her campaign day with an event at Progress Childcare in Scarborough. She’ll remain in Scarborough for a visit at the Adi Biryani & Kebab House at 11:30 a.m.
- Green Party leader Mike Schreiner will campaign in Guelph most of the day. At 6 p.m., he’ll take part in a debate on accessibility and disability issues at the Ryerson Student Centre in downtown Toronto.
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