Here’s our daily look at what’s making news on the Ontario campaign trail.
- Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford is promising to reduce by 10 cents the taxes drivers pay for every litre of gasoline. Ford says he’ll do this by cutting the provincial gasoline tax by 5.7 cents and scrapping the province’s cap-and-trade system, which adds 4.3 cents per litre to the price of fuel. Ford was vague on how he would replace the nearly $3 billion in government revenue these taxes bring in annually, suggesting that increased economic activity and his plan to find “efficiencies” in government operations would help take care of it. The PCs later said the $1.9 billion revenue lost from ending the cap-and-trade program would be made up by cutting everything it funds, including home energy retrofits and electric-car subsidies.
- The Tories have fired a party organizer after it emerged that Ford broke campaign laws by attending a $250-a-plate party fundraiser last month. New rules ban party leaders, MPPs, cabinet ministers, and candidates from appearing at political fundraising events. The PCs say Ford was misled as to the nature of the event, and they have fired party organizer Srini Suppiramaniam as a result. “Any money raised at the event that was given to the campaign as a donation will be returned to the donors, and we will not accept any money from these guests going forward,” a campaign spokesperson stated.
- A former employee of the 407 toll highway resigned as PC candidate for Brampton East shortly after the company revealed that information on 60,000 customers had been stolen. Simmer Sandhu posted a statement on Twitter saying he was stepping down because “baseless” and “anonymous” allegations made against him would be too much of a distraction from the Tories’ election efforts. The National Post reports that there’s evidence the stolen data might have been used in internal PC party campaigns. The Tories say they have accepted Sandhu’s resignation and have nominated small-business owner Sudeep Verma to take his place.
- The Liberals are demanding that the PCs dismiss two other candidates over controversial comments each have made. While working for Rebel Media in 2015, London West candidate Andrew Lawton said, “I’m a Christian. I believe in Christian exceptionalism. I believe that Christianity is the only correct faith.” Also in 2015, Kanata–Carleton candidate Merrilee Fullerton tweeted, “Imagine sending your 4 year old child to school for the first time under the authority of a masked teacher. Comfortable? #niqab.” Lawton had already been under fire for Twitter comments he made several years ago that some deemed misogynistic, racist, and homophobic, while Fullerton had already been criticized for anti-immigrant and Islamophobic tweets.
- The Liberals are also attacking NDP leader Andrea Horwath for standing by one of her candidates despite an allegation that he’s regularly made offensive statements. Paul Miller, who is trying for a fourth straight term as MPP for Hamilton East–Stoney Creek, has been accused by an employee of making "routine racist, sexist and homophobic comments." In response to reporters’ questions about Miller, Horwath said that NDP employees are unionized, and that a process under their labour agreement is being followed to investigate the allegation.
- Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne defended her government’s decision to award subsidies to private industry, arguing that such subsidies can help attract jobs to the province. MHI Canada CEO Michael McCarthy, who gave Wynne a tour of the company’s aerospace manufacturing facility in Mississauga on Wednesday, said an expansion of the plant wouldn’t have happened without $4.9 million in provincial money. “This would have stayed in Japan if [the subsidy] hadn’t have happened,” he told reporters. Ford has said that lowering taxes for all businesses makes more sense than “picking winners and losers” through subsidies.
- In the latest episode of The Agenda on Politics podcast, John Michael McGrath talks to economist Mike Moffatt about what Moffatt calls the “two Ontarios” that make up the provincial economy.
- In a piece for TVO.org, former Ontario deputy minister of education Charles Pascal analyzes the political parties’ plans for education and explains where they hit the mark and where they could be better.
- TVO’s Jon Thompson reports that Indigenous leaders in the province’s north are talking about the importance of their communities being united and voting strategically when it comes to the Ontario election.
What to watch for
- Wynne is in Ottawa this morning to make an announcement at Walkley Yard, where the city’s light-rail trains are serviced. She will tour St. Lawrence College’s Innovation Hub in Kingston at 3:45 p.m. Wynne will conclude her day by meeting with local supporters at 5 Paddles Brewing Company in Whitby at 7:45 p.m.
- Ford will be at Capri Pizza in Cambridge to make an announcement at 1 p.m. He will then speak at a rally at Bingemans Conference Centre in Kitchener at 6 p.m.
- Horwath will be at Bathurst subway station in downtown Toronto this morning for a campaign event focused on transit. At 1:45 p.m., she’ll hold another transit-related event at the St. Catharines GO station.
- Green Party leader Mike Schreiner will be campaigning all day in Guelph, where he is trying to win a seat.
- Tonight, The Agenda With Steve Paikin will feature NDP leader Andrea Horwath and will examine the NDP platform. Watch it on TVO at 8 p.m. or 11 p.m. You can also catch the program via Facebook and Twitter at 8 p.m
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