NDP Leader Andrea Horwath defended her decision to trigger a June 12 election by refusing to support a minority Liberal budget promising more money for low-paid workers and welfare recipients.
“It isn’t just about the details of the budget,” she said Monday after the president of Canada’s largest private-sector union took her to task.
“I do not have any confidence whatsoever ... these Liberals can deliver,” she said on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning.
Minutes earlier on the show, president Jerry Dias of Unifor, which represents autoworkers and others, said Horwath made a poor decision for a leader who let the last two Liberal budgets pass by touting gains she helped make for working people by pressing for shorter waits for home care and lower auto insurance rates, for example.
“This budget was a win-win for working class people,” Dias said.
“When politics is more important than direction then I have to start to second guess.”
Horwath said she’s still waiting for the Liberals to live up to promises from previous budgets.
“There’s still people waiting weeks and weeks and weeks to get what they need” in home care supports to stay in their own homes and out of hospitals or nursing homes, Horwath said.
Premier Kathleen Wynne’s budget promised an increase in welfare payouts and $4 hourly raises to personal support workers in home care who now make $12.50, not far above the minimum wage set to rise 75 cents to $11 hourly on June 1.
Horwath was spending Monday campaigning in Brampton, where her party hopes to gain a riding left vacant when Liberal cabinet minister Linda Jeffrey quit to run for mayor in October’s municipal elections.
Before arriving to do some mainstreeting, Horwath issued an open letter to Wynne and Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak challenging them to five debates in the unusually long 41-day campaign.
The NDP has not unveiled a campaign platform and, breaking with tradition, has not lined up a bus to transport media shadowing Horwath’s campaign, which other parties have done, raising questions about the NDP’s preparedness for a campaign on which the party controlled the timing. The parties charge a substantial fee for seats on the bus.