NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says she and her MPPs have a “very important job ahead” to hold the Ford government accountable.
“People are pretty worried about what Doug Ford has in store, and so am I,” said Horwath, speaking to both new and returning MPPs — there are 40 in total — for the first time since the June 7 election.
The NDP doubled the number of seats it holds to become Ontario’s official opposition, and more than half are first-time MPPs. They held their first meeting all-day Thursday at a downtown Toronto hotel.
The Progressive Conservatives, under Leader Doug Ford, were elected with about 40 per cent of the popular vote, and they formally take office June 29. There are 76 PC MPs.
During the election campaign, Ford said he would find $6 billion in “efficiencies,” and made a number of spending promises, as well as pledging tax cuts — which eat into government revenues — without saying how they would be paid for.
“The majority of Ontarians did not vote for cuts to health care or layoffs to more nurses and more teachers or the privatization of the things that matter most to all of us,” she said. “New Democrats — we will be the voice for all those Ontarians. We will hold Doug Ford accountable for each and every decision that he makes.”
Horwath also said Ford “still needs to account for the scandals and investigations that plagued him during the campaign and prior,” referring to police investigations into alleged ballot-box stuffing during PC nominations, as well as the Highway 407 data breach that led to a candidate resigning.
However, she added “our job is more than just to hold Doug Ford to account. We will also demand better because Ontarians deserve better. Our job is to be constructive and to put forward solutions that help the people of this province.”
Horwath gave a nod to her caucus, saying “this is an official opposition that is strong, diverse and truly reflective of the people of this province,” noting it is the largest opposition in 33 years, and that the NDP “won more seats than we won in a generation.”