NEWS

Wynne, Horwath to talk legislative priorities in Ontario

09/16/2013 03:40 EDT | Updated 11/16/2013 05:12 EST
The fate of the provincial government is now in the hands of two party leaders.

Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne is sitting down with her NDP counterpart Andrea Horwath on Monday afternoon in a bid to avoid plunging the province into an election this fall. Tim Hudak, the PC leader, has already shown interest in a fall election.

The governing Liberals have been dealing with the challenges of a minority position in the legislature for nearly two years.

And after a set of summer byelections, the government now holds only 50 of 107 seats. The Progressive Conservatives hold 37 seats and the New Democrats the remaining 20.

In the last legislative session, the Opposition Tories refused to co-operate with the Liberals and have made continual calls for a change in government.

That left the government looking to the third-party New Democrats for support to get their budget bill passed — an event that was made possible by the Liberals making concessions to them.

Wynne has warned that she will call an election if the Opposition stops all bills from being passed in the fall session.

Ahead of her meeting with Wynne, NDP Leader Horwath said she did not intend to make any new demands of the premier.

“I'd like to actually see a fall agenda from the Liberals to be frank with you,” Horwath said.

Horwath said the New Democrats want to see the Liberals move ahead with the promises they had made to get the budget passed, which include lowering auto-insurance premiums, reducing wait times for home care and the introduction of a youth jobs strategy.

Wynne believes that there are bills and issues that both opposition parties can support.

"It's very clear to me that there are areas where the NDP, and quite frankly the Conservatives as well, have indicated that they're supportive, and so my hope is our conversation today will be about those things," said Wynne.

"I'm under no illusion that there aren't issues where we'll continue to disagree, but I think there are some areas — like the local food act — where we can agree."

Former premier Dalton McGuinty announced his intent to resign as Liberal leader in October of last year. That was about a year after the provincial election that created the current minority government.

His departure from the legislature triggered a leadership contest, which Wynne won at the end of January.

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