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The Globe and Mail

Ontario Liberal Leader stays on message amid news of Forbes ranking

Ontario Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty greets a baby during a campaign stop in Bolton, Ont. on Oct. 4, 2011.

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press/Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty spent Tuesday reading a story to a Grade 2 class at a school in Cambridge and making pizza at a restaurant in Bolton as the ground war over a string of ridings in Southern Ontario shifted into high gear.

With Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak campaigning aggressively in Eastern Ontario and New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath making another 11th-hour dash through the north, Mr. McGuinty played it safe and stayed on message.

He also had plenty of reason to feel good about his central campaign message: that he is the best leader to navigate the province through troubled economic times.

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Forbes magazine has ranked Canada as the world's top country for business, up from No. 4 last year, partly because of the introduction of the Harmonized Sales Tax in Ontario and British Columbia. (However, Forbes did not point out that residents in B.C. held a historic referendum and rejected the HST in that province.)

"We heard from Forbes Magazine this morning...," Mr. McGuinty told reporters in Vaughan on Tuesday. "And to what do they attribute this extraordinary leap forward? Tax reforms in Ontario, in particular."

The timing could not have been better for Mr. McGuinty, who has been assailed by both the Tories and the New Democrats for saddling consumers with higher prices on many everyday goods and services ever since he introduced the HST in 2009.

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