Ontario election threat eases in last day before vote
Published Tuesday, June 19, 2012 3:08PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, June 19, 2012 3:10PM EDT
With the threat of a summer election over the Ontario budget virtually eliminated, the New Democrats are feeling victorious but a little bitter.
Premier Dalton McGuinty warned he'd call a snap election rather than suffer more opposition changes to the budget, but it looks like the fiscal plan will be approved Wednesday.
The NDP forced several concessions from the minority government, including a tax on the rich and increased welfare payments, in exchange for letting the budget pass.
But NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says she was shocked when the Liberals called her a backstabber and said she broke her word after her party voted with the Tories last week to remove a key section of the budget bill.
She says the Liberal tactics were meant to bully and silence her.
Horwath is worried the bitter feelings from the budget battles will linger because of what she calls Premier Dalton McGuinty's "high-handed" approach to dealing with the opposition parties.
"I've been quite taken aback by the change in the way Mr. McGuinty has been dealing with things," Horwath said in an interview.
"I'm concerned about that. I don't think that's a very effective or positive leadership style."
The opposition parties, which control the finance committee, called McGuinty's election bluff and removed more sections of the budget Monday and Tuesday on labour arbitration.
The Liberals said they expected the NDP would defeat the arbitration sections, even though they believed the New Democrats had agreed in previous budget deals not to force such changes.
The government said it was closely watching the finance committee Tuesday to make sure there were no more last-minute changes to the budget bill.
The legislature was scheduled to be recalled Wednesday for the crucial vote on the minority government's budget, which would automatically trigger an election if it's defeated.
The Progressive Conservatives have vowed to vote against the budget since it was introduced, and say it still does nothing to rein in government spending or help create jobs.