WATERDOWN, Ont. - Her "desperate" political rivals have been forced to resort to scandalmongering to deflect attention from their unpopular and poorly thought-out platforms, Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne said Saturday.
Using some of her toughest language yet, the premier lashed out at her Progressive Conservative and New Democrat opponents, who again returned to the three-year-old gas-plant scandal that has dogged Wynne throughout the election campaign.
"As Tim Hudak becomes desperate, he and his people say things that they know are not true," Wynne said.
"They want to stir up controversy and they want to make sure that we don't focus on what he's going to do."
The Tory leader doesn't want to talk about his plan because it would mean "either firing some of the people in the room or firing their neighbours," Wynne said in reference to Hudak's pledge to cut 100,000 public sector jobs.
On Saturday, Hudak returned to the site of one of the cancelled gas plants — which by estimates could end up costing taxpayers more than $1 billion — to again call for a public inquiry into the scandal.
Wynne, he said, abandoned her principles by failing to object when her predecessor, Dalton McGuinty, scrapped the plant to save Liberal seats.
"She faced a pivotal choice when Dalton McGuinty put in front of her a document to put a billion dollars into that hole behind me," Hudak said, a pallet of fake $100 bills next to him.
"She should have said no. She said yes. That tells me now she's more about helping herself and helping the Liberals than helping you."
After mainstreeting at a farmer's market in Waterdown, Wynne said she has accepted responsibility for the gas-plant fiasco and has put measures in place to prevent a recurrence.
She also fired back at NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, who has repeatedly accused the Liberals of corruption.
On Saturday, Horwath again demanded Wynne turn over legislature records police are looking for as they investigate allegations that McGuinty's office destroyed records related to the gas plants.
Like Hudak, Wynne said, Horwath has no plan of her own so she's looking for dirt.
"She doesn't want to talk about what she believes she can do, because she hasn't said what she stands for," Wynne said.
"People who don't have a plan, or who have a plan that is either flawed or they're afraid to talk about, all they can do then is resort to controversy or slinging mud."
Horwath fired back at Wynne, saying the Liberal leader's plan for the province was to "promise the moon."
"It takes a lotta brass to waste over a billion dollars, to have the police raiding your office, to throw out promises like there's no end only to hold onto power and then call your opponents desperate," Horwath said.
As the campaign enters its final days, polls suggest an indecisive outcome — either a Liberal or Conservative minority.
No matter what the result, Wynne said she would work to ensure the legislature is able to function, even as she warned against giving Hudak a mandate — invoking both former Tory premier Mike Harris and Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Hudak would fire teachers, firefighters water and meat inspectors, Wynne said.
"We saw that happen under Harris and Tim Hudak is going farther than Harris ever went," she said.
"Like Harper, (Hudak) thinks that people should just be left to fend for themselves. Andrea Horwath apparently used to believe in (helping people) and doesn't believe in it any more."
© Coast Reporter