A defiant Wynne says the election campaign's volatility makes room for any possibility
Thu., May 17, 2018
OTTAWAâ" It ainât over till itâs over.
Thatâs Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynneâs defiant message in the face of public-opinion polls showing her trailing Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath in the June 7 election campaign.
Almost 15 years after the Liberals took office, Wynne know sheâs in the political fight of her life â" even at home in the riding of Don Valley West â" and that her party faces a massive defeat next month.
âIâm not going to pretend that itâs not a challenge when youâve been in office for a number of years,â she told the Star in a wide-ranging interview during a break from the campaign trial.
âThere is nothing in anything that weâre seeing â¦ that would suggest that we should give up. That volatility is very much real, so whereâs thereâs volatility thereâs â¦ possibility.âArticle Continued Below
Wynne, premier for the past five years since succeeding Dalton McGuinty, said the uncertainty is due to the untested rookie PC leader, who took over two months ago after the resignation of Patrick Brown.
âPeo ple are just coming to realize â¦ that Ford is not going to be good for the province,â she said of the populist Tory whose spirited rallies have attracted the largest crowds of the campaign.
âI think two weeks ago there were a lot more people who were willing to say: âWell, maybe it will be okay, maybe it wonât be so bad.â I donât think people are willing to give him that anymore â" thatâs certainly what my candidates are telling me.â
With polls suggesting Horwathâs New Democrats are increasingly seen as the more popular alternative to Fordâs Conservatives, Wynne emphasized the differences between her Liberals and the NDP.
âItâs not exactly the same direction. The reason I am a Liberal â¦ is I am a very practical person,â she said, pointing to differences on child care, social services, and energy policy.
âYes, we share a lot of the same value system, but if our plan can be implemented and can actually do what it says itâs goi ng to do and theirs canât then I think thatâs a pretty big difference.â
On a daily basis, reporters pepper Wynne with queries about her discouraging poll numbers and the lack of enthusiasm toward the Liberals when compared with the passionate reception greeting Ford and Horwath wherever they campaign.Article Continued Below
âI get the questions about âAre we frustrated, are we feeling dispirited,â all of those things. All I can do is do the things that I believe are right and thatâs what Iâve done all through my political career,â she said.
âWeâve made a lot of decisions and the vast majority of them have led to real successes and then there have been some things that people have been unhappy about. I totally get that.â
That includes the 2015 sale of the governmentâs majority share of Hydro One, the provinceâs electricity transmission utility, to bankroll transportation infrastructure like transit, roads, and bridges.
Both th e Tories and the New Democrats opposed the privatization and have successfully used it against the Liberals in this campaign.
âItâs not that I regret it. What I wish I could figure out (is) what we could have done differently so as to learn from it,â said Wynne.
âBecause raising taxes was not an option, but that was one of the ways we could have raised money. We had done and have done a lot of borrowing in terms of infrastructure, but you canât borrow everything, you have to have some demonstration of having cash,â she said.
âWe have to be honest about our lack of communication about that run-up. Not the communication of the broadening of the ownership, but the actual state of the infrastructure in the province and the need for the investment and the way we were doing it.â
The Liberal leader acknowledged Horwath, who has promised to return the utility to public ownership, and Ford, who has pledged to fire the CEO and board of directors, have a rtfully framed the sale.
âThereâs been all sorts of conflation of ideas â¦ that somehow buying back Hydro One is going to take money off electricity bills â" not true, not going to happen,â said Wynne.
âThereâs been a lot of misinformation thatâs been out there because we werenât successful in getting the groundwork laid for it. But would I do it differently? I donât think so, because we wouldnât see the infrastructure thatâs being built around the province if we hadnât done that.âRead more about: TOP STORIES, DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX.NEW NEWSLETTERHEADLINESSIGN UPSource: Google News