Party leaders back on the campaign trail after final Ontario election debate

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Fresh off their debate night showdown, the leaders of Ontario’s four major political parties were back on the streets Tuesday, each zeroing in on the Toronto region.

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The NDP’s Andrea Horwath garnered an OPSEU endorsement and pledged to fix Ontario’s “broken down schools,” Liberal Steven Del Duca promised a four-day workweek and PC party leader Doug Ford racked up a fourth union endorsement.

Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner spent Tuesday in the ridings of Parry Sound-Muskoka and Toronto’s University-Rosedale, two places where the party sees the most potential for growth.

I have focused on housing, youth and climate. Schreiner said the Green Party plans to ease the housing crisis by building 1.5 million new homes, as other parties have promised. He also repeated his intention to lower the voting age to 16, “to empower youth voices in the fight against the climate emergency.”

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“If we want to build a livable future for our children, they need to have a seat at the table,” he said.

“It’s now or never for climate action, and many young people are feeling climate dread,

During stops in Scarborough and Peterborough, Horwath said an NDP government would spend $4.8 billion over the next three years to fix classrooms, including $467 million to add an extra custodian for each school.

Horwath said that if elected, she would also double the funding for mental health staff and supports, with $125 million more over three years to hire more educational assistants.

“Together, we can make sure every child has a caring, qualified adult to turn to when something feels wrong,” said Horwath.

Later in the day, Horwath issued a statement thanking leaders of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) after the 180,000-member organization endorsed the NDP.

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Doug Ford paid a visit to the International Union of Painters & Allied Trades (IUPAT) in Toronto, where he collected his fourth major union endorsement.

The union lauded Progressive Conservative efforts to support apprenticeships and get more Ontarians into the skilled trades.

“Doug Ford and the Ontario PCs have been working for workers,” said IUPAT business manager Bruno Mandic. “The Ontario PCs continue to encourage apprenticeships, increase the minimum wage and support job creation across Ontario by connecting jobseekers and opportunities in skilled trades.”

The union follows the IBEW Construction Council of Ontario, the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers in throwing support behind Ford.

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Liberal Leader Stevel Del Duca was also in the GTA on Tuesday, touting a plan to improve work-life balance and “restore workers’ economic dignity” with a four-day workweek.

Del Duca said a Liberal government would bring back the Basic Income Pilot Project, which Ford scrapped in 2020. He also promised to give 10 paid sick days to all workers and prohibit employer-required doctor notes, as well as ban unfair and underpaid gig and contract work.

He said the pandemic blurred the lines between work and home, and left people feeling “more depressed, anxious and overwhelmed” over the last two years.

“Our Liberal plan will increase quality of life and provide much-needed relief without hurting our productivity,” said Del Duca.


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