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Horwath open to power-sharing pact in Ontario

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath, speaks to supporters at a campaign stop at her riding headquarters in Hamilton, Ont., October 1, 2011.

Dave Chidley/The Canadian Press/Dave Chidley/The Canadian Press

NDP leader Andrea Horwath is criticizing the leaders of Ontario's other two major parties for shutting the door on postelection deal-making as polls show the province could be headed for a hung parliament after the Oct. 6 vote.

Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak slammed the possibility of a coalition government Saturday, while on Sunday Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty emphatically ruled out forming any pact with other parties if he fails to win a majority government.

"They're saying 'it's my way or the highway,'" she said at a campaign event in Brampton Monday. "I don't think anybody accomplishes anything by working all alone."

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Ms. Horwath would not say exactly what sort of arrangement she favours, but left the door open to a power-sharing pact.

For the second day, Mr. McGuinty outright rejected getting into any kind of talks with the New Democrats, saying he is much more interested in speaking to Ontarians about the things that matter most to them.

"There's an anxiety about the looming clouds in the global economy," Mr. McGuinty told reporters in Vaughan, where he toured a Magna car parts plant. Only the Liberal Party, he said, has the experience and understanding of globalization to protect jobs as well as the province's schools and health care.

Even though the Liberals are in a dead heat with the Progressive Conservatives, according to the latest Nanos poll done for The Globe and Mail, CTV News and CP24, Mr. McGuinty once again talked on Monday about forming a LIberal majority government.

"First, we form a strong, stable majority government and then we enlist the support of the parties to ensure that we get the [best]policies," he said.

However, talk of a coalition between parties could be advantageous to the NDP. If left-leaning voters think a coalition is in the offing, they could be inclined to vote NDP in hopes of denying the other parties a majority and forcing them to work with Ms. Horwath.

Senior officials with the Liberal campaign seem to think this is possible: They argue Mr. Hudak stoked the coalition chatter in hopes it would drive voters away from the Liberals and to the NDP.

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It has also happened before, when the NDP propped up a Liberal minority in the 1980s in exchange for having some of its policies implemented.

At her campaign appearance, Ms. Horwath reiterated her five-point priority list and brought out supporters to highlight each part of the plan.

One woman spoke about the difficulty in finding a job, another worried about the high cost of tuition for her sons and one told an anecdote about suffering from H1N1 and having to drive to a different city because the lineups at Brampton's lone hospital were too long.

The riding, Bramalea-Gore-Malton, is one the NDP is targeting. The party's candidate, Jagmeet Singh, came within 600 votes of winning the seat federally, making it the NDP's top hope for a breakthrough in the 905.

Mr. Singh, a 32-year-old trilingual lawyer, has run a youth-based campaign, shooting slick YouTube videos and assembling a large campaign team of local twentysomethings and teen volunteers.

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About the Authors
Washington correspondent

Adrian Morrow covers U.S. politics from Washington, D.C. Previously he was The Globe's Ontario politics reporter. He's covered news, crime and sports for The Globe since 2010. He won the National Newspaper Award for politics reporting in 2016. More

Karen Howlett is a national reporter based in Toronto. She returned to the newsroom in 2013 after covering Ontario politics at The Globe’s Queen’s Park bureau for seven years. Prior to that, she worked in the paper’s Vancouver bureau and in The Report on Business, where she covered a variety of beats, including financial services and securities regulation. More

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