TORONTO - Ontario's New Democrats are hoping voters will follow Manitoba's lead and make the "smart choice" of electing the party to lead their province.
Buoyed by her party's win of a fourth straight majority government in Manitoba on Tuesday night, Ontario leader Andrea Horwath set off on an eight-stop tour of southern Ontario on Wednesday.
"We saw the election last night in Manitoba where the NDP won, I think they made a smart choice in Manitoba," Horwath said during a stop at a farmers market in Toronto.
"I'm hoping the people of Ontario will make that same kind of smart choice."
The NDP have placed third in the polls so far but with support sitting at around 25 per cent, Horwath could be leading the party into its biggest gains in years. Some polls also suggest the province could be headed for a minority government, giving the New Democrats the balance of power.
A lot will depend on which party is most successful at getting support on the ballots, but Horwath said she wasn't worried the lack of one big issue during the campaign would keep voters away, pointing to the high turnout at the advance polls.
The energetic leader, who had planned stops in Mississauga, Niagara Falls, Kitchener, Guelph and Oshawa, as well as Toronto, said that unlike some of her rivals, she wasn't about to slow down with one day to go.
"For me, the whole campaign has been about our momentum so there's no way that I was going to take a day off today or put my feet up," said Horwath when asked about Premier Dalton McGuinty's three stops Wednesday.
New polling suggests the Liberal leader may be inching ahead, and while McGuinty downplayed the new numbers Wednesday, he did appear to be keeping a low profile in the home stretch.
The Liberals did, however, take issue with Horwath's comparison of her party to Manitoba's NDP, saying that while she planned to raise corporate taxes, the Manitoba NDP cut corporate taxes seven times.
"While defending her job-killing $9-billion corporate tax hike this morning on CBC’s Metro Morning, Andrea Horwath pretended the Manitoba NDP government 'didn’t reduce their corporate taxes,'" the Liberals said in a release.
"In fact, the Manitoba NDP cut corporate taxes seven times over seven years from 16.5 per cent to 12 per cent."
Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak, who was making several stops between Toronto and Brantford, also stopped in Mississauga. As a background, he chose a controversial gas-fired power plant, which McGuinty has promised to move.
Hudak, who has derided McGuinty for promising to scrap the plant less than two weeks before the election, made that same promise Wednesday.
Horwath said voters weren't likely to see any such announcements from her party.
"No tricks up my sleeves, no last-minute promises," Horwath said.