By Richard J. Brennan
Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak is itching for an election even though voters only went to the polls 16 months ago.
His burning desire for a general election at a cost of $300 million appears at odds with the constant message of slashing government spending. The last provincial election was in October 2011.
“The sooner we get about bringing change to the province, the sooner we can actually create jobs and the sooner we restore hope to those who have lost hope . . . we’ve got to change the direction of the province. The only way to do so is change the team that leads it,” Hudak told reporters at Queen’s Park on Thursday.
Hudak also called for a two-year, across-the-board wage freeze for the public service, as well as broader public sector workers, including the Ontario Provincial Police.
He explained that the current ad hoc wage freeze imposed by the Liberal government is not broad enough, even though the vast majority of the Ontario Public Service, including doctors, are covered.
“Ontario can rise again. We can be the best place in Canada to start a business and get a good job. We can balance the books but in order to do so we need to have a public sector wage freeze,” he said.
Premier Kathleen Wynne said she still believes in negotiated contracts, even though the Liberal government imposed a two-year wage freeze on public elementary and high school teachers.
Hudak noted that his colleague MPP Peter Shurman, MPP (Thornhill) will introduce a private member’s bill next week calling for an across-the-board public sector wage freeze.
“It’s fair, it reasonable. It will save us $2 billion a year and will help us balance the books in Ontario,” he said.