(CHATHAM, ON) – Doug Ford is staying on script. At a rally held at the John D Bradley Centre in Chatham last night, Ford had little new to say to the throng of supporters in attendance.
With the Ford tour bus as a back drop, and the adornment of over-sized Ontario flags, the Progressive Conservative leader hit all the major themes of his campaign thus far.
“Tonight, the Liberals and NDP are watching,” Ford begun his short address. “The NDP and Liberals are scared right now.”
The theme of the speech was about change, beginning with the thrust of his attack. Though Ford referred to Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals on occasion, he aimed at Andrea Horwath and the NDP.
Ford related conversations with Ontarians who have tired of Liberal rule and who see no discernible difference from the NDP. He resurrected the spectre of Bob Rae, the former NDP premier of Ontario who became a federal Liberal Member of Parliament.
The PC leader described the massive unemployment that followed Rae’s term in office then disclosed that NDP leader Horwath has proposed to close the Pickering nuclear plant, which would throw 7,500 people out of work.
“That’s 7,500 families, that’s 7,500 pay cheques,” Ford said. ” And, what does she want to replace them with? She wants to replace them with wind turbines.”
Ford also took to task Horwath for supporting NDP candidates who have openly insulted Canada’s military veterans and the remembrance poppy. He reiterated his promise that Royal Canadian Legion branches across the province would be allowed to operate free from property taxes.
Currently in Chatham-Kent, branches of the RCL do not pay property taxes to the municipality.
“The municipality believes the unique nature of the Royal Canadian Legion, the sacrifices of Legion members, and the Legion’s value to the community warrants this action,” mayor Randy Hope said via a release. “Not all Legion members may be aware that their branches don’t pay property taxes and I owe it to our community to clear up any confusion on this.”
Ford pledged, also, to reduce the provincial gas tax by 10 cents per litre, and called the Green Energy Act, “the biggest scam on Earth.” He also said his government would drop personal taxes on the middle class by 20 per cent while low income earners wouldn’t pay any provincial income tax.
Hydro One CEO, Mayo Schmidt, again drew Ford’s ire. The “Six Million Dollar Man,” as Ford referred to him, is a member of the board of directors who get paid $180,000 per year for a total of 36 hours of work.
“We’ll respect every single dollar you put into the government,” said Ford. “We will reduce hydro rates by 12 per cent. Again, putting money back into your pockets.”
Along with hydro, health care is a primary issue on Ford’s radar as he vowed the creation of 15,000 long term care beds over five years as well as and investment of $1.9 Billion into mental health, addiction, and housing support.
Small business will benefit from a PC government, according to Ford. Citing the heavy taxes and red tape faced by business owners, Ford guaranteed an 8.75 per cent tax reduction to help grow small businesses and create employment opportunities.
“A new day will dawn in Ontario unlike the province has ever seen before,” Ford closed the night. “We will blaze a trail of prosperity, putting money back into your pockets, instead of the government’s pockets. Together we can take back the province.”