Wynne gets endorsement from McCallion

By: The Canadian Press

 | May 14, 2014 - 3:17 PM |
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - One of Ontario's most influential and longest-serving mayors has endorsed Kathleen Wynne's bid for re-election, while ripping into proposed cutbacks by the premier's Progressive Conservative rival.

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion stood side by side with Wynne at an arts centre in the city Wednesday as she gave the Liberal leader her nod of approval.

"As a leader, I'm endorsing her," said the 93-year-old McCallion, who is not running again this fall after more than 35 years in the mayor's chair.

Wynne took the opportunity to talk up what she calls her strong track record of working hand-in-glove with municipalities on issues such as infrastructure and transit.

"I believe that it is critical to the well-being of this province that the provincial government work with municipalities, that there not be a conflictual relationship," said Wynne, painting the NDP and Tories as coming up short when it comes to dealing with community-level governments.

"We are the government, we are the party, I am the leader who has committed to continuing that relationship."

McCallion said the worst outcome of the June 12 election would be a minority government, which she said would leave local governments "hanging" on legislation impacting them.

She also took shots at the Progressive Conservatives, saying their pledge to cut 100,000 public sector jobs would hurt municipal services and residents' "quality of life."

McCallion said Tory Leader Tim Hudak's plan has left major questions unanswered.

"If you're going to lay off staff, how is that service going to be provided?"

"You've got to do your homework. Just to say 100,000 jobs, with no backup material to prove it... I don't understand it," she added.

She urged voters to look at the "issues" and vote accordingly, and downplayed the ongoing scandal over the pricey Liberal decision to cancel two gas plants — one located in Mississauga — calling it "water under the bridge."

Wynne visited a Guelph high school later Wednesday, where she read a book to an attentive full-day kindergarten class before telling reporters Hudak's campaign platform would "undermine the institutions that define us as a province."

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