Spat sidetracks pension plan pitch
TORONTO—Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says she doesn’t want her election campaign pitch for a provincial pension plan to get bogged down in a war of words with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Wynne told reporters in Toronto yesterday that although there is a “stark difference” of opinions over the plan, a centrepiece of her campaign, she wants the focus to be on the retirement needs of Ontarians who lack pension support at work.
“My value system is that we have a responsibility, as government, to put in place a structure that allows people to have a secure retirement,” Wynne added, saying two-thirds of workers lack job pensions.
However, while discussing what she calls the lacklustre support from the Canada Pension Plan, Wynne did take a slight jab at Harper—saying his pension as prime minister has “almost 10 times” the maximum CPP payout.
The apparent rhetorical cool-down came after Wynne said Saturday that if Harper doesn’t want to co-operate on her idea for a made-in-Ontario plan, then he should “move out of the way” and not interfere with it.
Those comments were in response to the prime minister’s criticizing the proposal a day earlier as a tax that would be rejected by voters.
The Prime Minister’s Office also was trying to lower the temperature, with a spokesman saying Saturday that the election is for Ontario voters to decide and the federal Conservatives will work with whatever government is elected.
Wynne called a June 12 election on Friday after the NDP said it no longer could prop up Wynne’s minority Liberal government, which it said is beset by scandal.
Though the election drive doesn’t formally start until Wednesday, Wynne, Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak, and NDP leader Andrea Horwath all were in campaign mode in the Toronto area yesterday.