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In McGuinty's footsteps, Horwath takes her pitch to Northern Ontario

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath greets supporters during a campaign stop in Ottawa, Wednesday September 14, 2011.

FRED CHARTRAND/THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

In a serendipitous bit of political theatre, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath follows Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty north a day after the two traded barbs on who, exactly, cares more about the sprawling region whose closely fought ridings could go either way Oct. 6.

Yes, she was there last week – on the second day of the official campaign, as she'll no doubt remind reporters – but this lengthier northern excursion will serve to further underscore Ms. Horwath's mantra equating the governing Liberals with economic decline, and her own policies with the promise of development and resurgence.

Needless to say, the imagery is not so subtle: Her first stop is a shuttered pulp and paper mill that was sold for scrap last year. The next is Bombardier Transportation Inc.'s Thunder Bay office – the same site Mr. McGuinty visited the day before. There's an announcement scheduled for this stop; no confirmation yet on what that entails, but we'd put our money on an elaboration of Ms. Horwath's plans to keep jobs, processing and contract-awarding to in-province workers. Indeed, later Friday she's making a trip to North Bay, home of the company she thinks should have been awarded a GO Train refurbishment contract instead of its cheaper Quebec rival.

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Ms. Horwath's trip north also comes a day after Mr. McGuinty accused her of regional double-talk – saying one thing in one area and something entirely different elsewhere, as she makes her pitch for disaffected locals.

"On the contrary," Ms. Horwath said. "I'm proud of my record in the North and in fighting for the North, and I'm proud of my track record on offering change for the people of Southern Ontario. It's not about dividing one part of the province form the other; it's about recognizing that various parts of the province have unique challenges ... I think what people want is an up-front discussion."

Ms. Horwath's trip north also comes a day after Mr. McGuinty accused her of regional double-talk – saying one thing in one area and something entirely different elsewhere, as she makes her pitch for disaffected locals.

"On the contrary," Ms. Horwath said. "I'm proud of my record in the North and in fighting for the North, and I'm proud of my track record on offering change for the people of Southern Ontario. It's not about dividing one part of the province form the other; it's about recognizing that various parts of the province have unique challenges ... I think what people want is an up-front discussion."

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