Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty is challenging his chief rival to look workers employed in the province's nascent green-energy sector directly in the eyes and tell them he is "killing" their jobs.
Mr. McGuinty announced in London, Ont., that South Korean multinational Samsung is creating another 200 jobs in a city hard hit by the economic recession. The timely news, coming on Day 2 of the campaign for the Oct. 6 election, highlights the Liberals' key message – that they are best equipped to build a strong foundation of manufacturing excellence in the province. The Progressive Conservatives under Leader Tim Hudak, they argue, would jeopardize the economy's fragile recovery by turning back the clock on progress.
Mr. McGuinty said the Tories would kill the very jobs he is announcing. Mr. Hudak, who is leading in the opinion polls, has vowed to rip up a $7-billion Samsung deal inked by the Liberals if he wins the election.
Why doesn't Mr. Hudak come to London and tell employees directly that he plans to cancel the Samsung deal? Mr. McGuinty told reporters on Thursday.
"They would kill the very jobs we are announcing here today," he said. "He can meet with employees, shake their hands, and look them in the eyes and tell them, 'I'm killing your jobs. I'm killing your future. Sorry about that.'"
Mr. McGuinty was flanked at the announcement at the University of Western Ontario by Samsung executives and London Mayor Joe Fontana, a former Liberal MP.
It was the second day in a row Mr. McGuinty has had a municipal leader on hand to help draw sharp distinctions between his policies and those of Mr. Hudak. On Wednesday, Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion appeared at the Liberals' kick-off rally, where she said she supports the Liberals' plans to assume financial responsibility for social programs that the previous Tory government had downloaded to municipalities.
Mr. Fontana said he has not yet spoken directly to Mr. Hudak about his threat to cancel the Samsung deal. But he said he plans to show up at campaign events when the Tories swing through London, a city where the unemployment rate is 9.1 per cent.
"I am hoping I and others can convince him that his platform of killing … a $7-billion investment in jobs in a new sector would be wrong," Mr. Fontana said. "There is nothing wrong with having wind, solar and biomass as part of the electricity-production mix, especially when you create good jobs."
Nancy Branscombe, Tory candidate for the riding of London North Centre, said if the Liberals were really serious about addressing the city's high unemployment rate, they should have done something years ago.