LONDON, Ont. – The five candidates to become leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives treated each other with kid gloves during a debate in London, Ont., Monday night, saving their harshest barbs for the Liberal government.
The PC leadership hopefuls all agreed that getting Ontario’s fiscal house in order was a top priority, with vows to bring back financial responsibility after the Liberals ran up a $12.5 billion deficit.
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There was lots of talk about the need to lower energy prices to keep companies from leaving Ontario for cheaper power in other jurisdictions, with each candidate accusing the Liberals of having irresponsible policies that cost jobs.
All the candidates lashed out at the Liberals’ proposed provincial pension plan and a proposed carbon tax as exactly the wrong ideas for the economy.
Patrick Brown, an MP and only one of the five who is not a member of the Ontario legislature, was also the only one to raise the Tories’ 2014 election promise to cut 100,000 public sector jobs, which he called a disaster.
Brown also lashed out at his colleagues for not making real efforts to bring various ethnic groups into the party, saying he never sees one provincial Conservative at many well attended multicultural events in southern Ontario.