Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak says he will not form a coalition government with any party – and he’s calling on the other leaders to make the same promise.
Voting at a seniors’ centre in his home riding of Niagara West-Glanbrook Saturday, Mr. Hudak said coalitions are “not good for the province.”
“I do hope that Kathleen Wynne and Andrea Horwath will stop all this coalition talk,” he said outside the polling station. “Voters don’t like that. It might be good for politicians, it’s not good for the province. I say no to coalitions. And I hope that Kathleen Wynne and Andrea Horwath will stop this game and be equally clear.”
With the prospect of another hung parliament after the June 12 vote, politicians of all stripes have had to contemplate the prospect of deal-making to get a budget passed.
Neither the Liberal Ms. Wynne or the New Democrat Ms. Horwath have ruled out the possibility of teaming up after voting day.
But earlier in the day, Ms. Wynne accused Ms. Horwath of actually wanting a pact with Mr. Hudak, even though the Tory leader has repeatedly ruled that out.
She also accused Ms. Horwath of abandoning her party’s roots by rejecting the Liberals’ left-wing budget – which included a provincial pension plan and big money for social programs – triggering the election.
“It is shocking that the party of Jack Layton and Stephen Lewis — the party that has traditionally supported social programs, the party that should have supported our budget — would be thinking about supporting Tim Hudak,” Wynne said at a rally in Toronto. “Andrea Horwath’s NDP is a party that used to have principles. It used to stand for something.”
Ms. Wynne’s attack was aimed at moving soft New Democrat supporters to the Liberals. The Grits have tacked left under Ms. Wynne in a bid to woo traditional New Democrat voters and set up a two-way battle with the Tories.
“A vote right now for Andrea Horwath might be a vote for Tim Hudak. But a vote for Kathleen Wynne is a vote for Kathleen Wynne,” Ms. Wynne said.
Ms. Horwath criticized Ms. Wynne in a vague statement that did not explicitly rule out a coalition.
"I have to say Ms. Wynne is in La-La land," the NDP Leader said. "She needs a bit of a reality check if she thinks New Democrats are going to allow her to sweep Liberal corruption under the rug in a province of Ontario."
Mr. Hudak said it would be undemocratic for anyone but the party with the largest number of seats to form government. He further argued coalitions are flawed because they require parties to compromise and possibly break election promises in order to satisfy their coalition partners.
“Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals have to be 100 per cent clear: are they going to keep their promises, are they going to break their promises?” he said. “Coalition or no coalition? I’ve ruled it out.”
Coalition governments are a rarity in Canada. The last one happened in 1999, when Roy Romanow’s New Democrats were cut down to a minority in the Saskatchewan legislature and formed a coalition with the third-party Liberals to give themselves a working majority.
Under a formal coalition, members of both parties get seats at the cabinet table.
Other governments have instead opted for more informal arrangements. In 1985, for instance, David Peterson’s Liberals placed second in the Ontario election, but reached an accord with Bob Rae’s NDP, in which Mr. Rae agreed to support Mr. Peterson on budgets and confidence motions in exchange for Mr. Peterson implementing various NDP policies.
Coalitions and other similar arrangements are often seen as politically toxic in this country. When then Liberal leader Stephane Dion and New Democrat Jack Layton tried to form a coalition to topple Stephen Harper after the 2008 federal election, Mr. Harper accused them of trying to overturn the results of a democratic election.
Support for the Saskatchewan Liberals, meanwhile, collapsed after their deal with Mr. Romanow, allowing the NDP to win back a majority in the next election.
With a report from the Canadian Press