It’s day eight of the Ontario election. Today, the leaders of Ontario’s main political parties are back on the campaign trail a day after sparring at the first election debate in North Bay. Health care, housing and highways were the major topics at the debate on northern issues held Tuesday, with each party leader attacking their opponents’ records and offering their own solutions for the region.
Here is what’s happening on the campaign trail and where the leaders are today:
Doug Ford has no scheduled public events today.
Stephen Lecce apologizes
Progressive Conservative candidate Stephen Lecce is apologizing after a report published by PressProgress published a report alleging he participated in a 2006 event at a Western University fraternity dubbed a “slave auction.”
In a statement today, Lecce says the event was inappropriate and “in no way” reflects who he is as a person and he unreservedly apologizes.
Lecce, who served as education minister, says he will continue to “passionately advance the interests of all Ontarians” regardless of faith, heritage, orientation or race.
Andrea Horwath will be in Brampton to announces plan to put money back in drivers’ pockets this morning, then visit a café in Waterdown and farm in Thamesford with local candidate.
Auto insurance rate announcement
Andrea Horwath says she’ll ban rate increases for 18 months while a commission investigates and recommends a new system if elected.
She says she’ll also ban the practice of different auto insurance rates based on postal codes.
Horwath says the commission will explore the no-fault systems in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.
Steven Del Duca will make a health care announcement this morning, before participating in McHappy Day in Vaughan; later, he will participate in a meet and greet with supporters in Ajax.
Surgery backlog announcement
The Ontario Liberals are promising to put $1 billion over two years toward clearing a surgical backlog.
Del Duca says the COVID-19 pandemic has put an incredible strain on health-care services and health-care professionals.
He says a Liberal government would put the additional funding into allowing hospitals to operate “significantly” above pre-pandemic volumes and expand operating room and diagnostic procedures into evenings and weekends.
The Ontario Medical Association estimated last fall that the pandemic had created a backlog of 20 million health-care services including doctors’ visits, diagnostic tests, treatments and surgeries.
In March, then-health minister Christine Elliott said the surgical backlog was around 50,000.
The Liberals say they will also help create not-for-profit surgery centres managed by local hospitals to manage higher surgical volumes.
Mike Schreiner will make an announcement on climate, jobs and affordability in Lively, before attending a “sign wave” with local candidates in Barrie. Laters, he will be in Guelph for a Young Greens Meet & Greet and a Child & Youth In Care Day Event. In the evening, he will participate in all-candidates Guelph debate hosted by the seniors living community in Guelph.
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