Thomas Mulcair has turned the other cheek with Kathleen Wynne, even as the Ontario Liberal premier appears to be ramping up criticism of his party.
Speaking with reporters after a rally in Toronto Monday, Mulcair was asked if Wynne's "blatantly partisan" approach to both him and Conservative Leader Stephen Harper might jeopardize her relationship with the next prime minister.
"I look forward to working with Kathleen Wynne and every other provincial premier when we form government on Oct. 19," he said.
The NDP leader promised he would have a different approach to provincial leaders than Harper and hold two meetings a year with the Council of the Federation — one in Ottawa, another hosted by a province on a rotating basis.
"I have to work with all provincial premiers irrespective of their political stripe," he said.
Mulcair also suggested his years in Quebec provincial politics will guide his approach to premiers.
"I have no hesitation whatsoever to sit down and work on issues like child care, better protection for our seniors," he said. "These are things we'll work with the provinces on every day."
Mulcair announced in Toronto — or, as he's taken to calling it lately, "Canada's most important city" — that he would he would increase the guaranteed income supplement by $400 million. He also pledged to reverse a Tory plan to raise the eligibility for old age security from 65 to 67.
On Sunday, Ontario education minister Liz Sandals told The Canadian Press that Mulcair has not provided enough details of his $15-a-day daycare plan to win the province's support.
"While the federal NDP like to claim Ontario supports their plan, they have yet to provide Canadians with any details for their proposal, including how it would impact Ontario families," she said in an email to the news agency.
"As it stands, the proposal put forward by the federal NDP leaves a lot of unanswered questions."
The NDP's signature child care proposal would require provinces cover 40 per cent of the costs.
At a rally with federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau in Toronto last week, Wynne accused Mulcair of being "all over the map" with priorities and "talking a good game" when it comes to child care, abolishing the Senate, and increasing the federal minimum wage.
"But when you look at what he's talking about, the ideas are either incomplete or they're unworkable or they're impossible," Wynne said.
A tweet from her account also mirrored her remarks.
While the dig at Mulcair caught some off guard, Wynne has for some time publicly battled with federal Conservatives who oppose her provincial pension plan.
Wynne called for the defeat of the Harper government on Day 1 of the campaign, saying Ontario needs "a new approach from a new prime minister."
Harper has returned fire, slamming Wynne's government directly in his stump speeches. Last week, called her pension plan a "Justin-Wynne-Kathleen-Trudeau" tax hike.
Ontario Conservative candidate Paul Calandra also took to Twitter last week to slam Trudeau for aligning himself with Wynne, who he called Canada's most "scandal plagued" premier.
1/ In TO @JustinTrudeau shared his stage with a premier who has multiple active OPP investigations into her Party's unethical behaviour— Paul Calandra (@PaulCalandra) August 20, 2015
2/ Those who break the rules face the consequences of their actions; only Trudeau hypocrisy could ally his party with scandal plagued Wynne— Paul Calandra (@PaulCalandra) August 20, 2015
3/ Trudeau Liberal's have no credibility as they continue to endorse and campaign with Canada's most scandal plagued premier @Kathleen_Wynne— Paul Calandra (@PaulCalandra) August 20, 2015
4/4 The free pass Trudeau has received on this contradiction is embarrassing, as is the @NDP_HQ's after cheating CDNs from over $2M— Paul Calandra (@PaulCalandra) August 20, 2015
Trudeau campaigned with Wynne in last year's provincial election, where Liberals captured a majority government.
Ontario is home to more than one third of the 338 seats up for grabs in October.
With files from The Canadian Press, Mohamed Omar
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