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PC Leader Tim Hudak speaks to journalists at a media availability in a warehouse in Etobicoke, Ontario during his election campaign for the Ontario Premiership on Monday September 19, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Chris Young/THE CANADIAN PRESS / Chris Young)
PC Leader Tim Hudak speaks to journalists at a media availability in a warehouse in Etobicoke, Ontario during his election campaign for the Ontario Premiership on Monday September 19, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Chris Young/THE CANADIAN PRESS / Chris Young)

'All options' open to stem Ontario deficit: Hudak Add to ...

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak said he would consider freezing public sector salaries if the province’s unions don’t help him whittle down the $14-billion deficit to help the province cope with a worsening global economy.

Speaking after a photo opportunity at an Ajax gas station Friday, Mr. Hudak said he’d leave all options on the table if he’s elected premier. The party’s platform already calls for a two per cent budget cut to all government ministries except health and education.

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He has also promised to review hundreds of government agencies to see if they are fulfilling their mandate. Any of the 600-plus agencies that “can’t be fixed” would be closed, he said.

Mr. Hudak also railed against arbitrated wage settlements that have given provincial workers raises that are above what he believes workers would have received if they were employed in the private sector.

He said he would try to negotiate with the province’s unions to ensure wages don’t rise faster than economic growth in the future.

“We’ll consider all options on the table as a last resort,” he said. “Our first resort is open negotiations, [they can]bring their ideas to the table. We’ll look for responsible leadership, but I won’t rule out any tools.”

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