Tory Leader Tim Hudak says a brown provincial government building on Jarvis St. is a symbol of Liberal waste and bureaucracy.
“What you see behind me, that nine-storey building? All that is a nine-storey factory that produces two products: paper work and red tape,” he told reporters in Toronto Monday.
“It is a Taj Mahal of Liberal bureaucracy. We can’t afford that.”
Hudak, standing on the top floor of a nearby condominium building under construction, complained that it cost $100 million to retrofit the building at 222 Jarvis St. to introduce more environmental measures such as daylight sensors, rainwater harvesters and emission reducing carpets.
“They spent $100 million to make a luxury palace for bureaucrats who don’t deliver front-line services. What an incredible waste,” he said.
Rebecca MacKenzie, a spokeswoman for the Liberal campaign, defended the retrofit.
“The Ontario government is on track to recover the money used to retrofit the building through savings over the next eight years. (Fifteen) separate locations — 12 leases and three buildings owned — are in the processes of being consolidated at this one location,” she said.
Hudak said combined with the at least $317 million MaRS building bail out “they could have built four subway stops in Toronto, they could have built a new major hospital.”
Hudak said that’s the difference between his vision and that of Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne.
“I have been very direct that we need to reduce the size and cost of government,” including his plan to cut 100,000 public sector jobs, he said.
Hudak said he will go after the middle managers who are “sucking more money out of the system.”
The main plank in Hudak’s platform is his controversial Million Jobs Plan, which he says is “a statement of faith in the people of Ontario that we can actually live with less waste.”
Pointing to the government building, which houses offices for several ministries, Hudak said it symbolizes “what’s gone wrong with Kathleen Wynne, Dalton McGuinty and the Liberal government.”
“Just look it. It’s squeezed at the bottom and fat on top — just like the Liberal government.”
The Toronto Star asked Hudak several times if he had ever been in the retrofitted building but he declined to answer and continued to walk away.
Hudak reiterated there would be an across-the-board wage freeze with a Tory government, including the Ontario Provincial Police.
For the first time in 60 years the Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA) ventured directly into politics by releasing two videos attacking Hudak’s plan.
The 15-second ads drew immediate criticism from the Progressive Conservatives, who said Wynne, Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur and OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes should state clearly whether they believe police associations should be involved in partisan political activism in an election campaign.
They pointed out the OPP is the same police force investigating Wynne’s Liberal government over the gas plant and ORNGE scandals.