Horwath responds to allegations by Del Duca of gender-focused attacks on candidates

Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca is claiming “Andrea Horwath and the [Ontario] NDP have lost their way,” as the war of words continues between the two leaders.

Del Duca made the comments during a Thursday afternoon announcement in Toronto. He spent most of his time attacking the NDP, claiming the party is driven by a “bizarre self-survival mode” that has become a “horrible disease.”

For most of the campaign, the NDP has been unearthing unfavorable information about Liberal and Ontario PC candidates.

The most recent was about swapped nomination signatures for former Chatham-Kent—Leamington candidate Audrey Festeryga. Festeryga was the second Liberal candidate in the riding after the first was dropped over past homophobic comments on social media dug up by the NDP.

Festeryga announced her withdrawal from the race Thursday afternoon, alleging in a press release the NDP was trying “to stop the voters from casting a ballot for the Liberals” by using “the worst kind of politics.”

READ MORE: Steven Del Duca frames NDP’s fraud allegation as sexist as Liberal candidate withdraws

Horwath held a press conference responding to Del Duca shortly after his tirade. She defended her party’s actions and took issue with the claims made by Del Duca.

“People deserve to know the character of the folks that are running in the election,” Horwath said.

“Making accusations against me is not the way that you take responsibility for your behaviors and your actions. You have to step up and show leadership by acknowledging when you’ve made a mistake.”

Despite spending most of her media availability targeting Del Duca, Horwath said there is a consensus among most parties that the PCs must be stopped from gaining power again.

“I think what we all would agree on is that six or seven out of ten Ontarians don’t want to see Doug Ford with another majority government, with another government.”

While the two progressive party leaders trade jabs, the PCs have remained in the lead throughout the entire election campaign.

The latest polling from Mainstreet Research projects another majority government for Doug Ford and the PCs, placing the Liberals at a distant second place and the NDP not far behind in third.

While going after Horwath and the New Democrats for pushing the issue of Festeryga’s candidacy, Del Duca repeated a refrain from the second leader’s debate: “every single time Andrea Horwath and the NDP attack me, which they have consistently done for months, Doug Ford smiles .”

QP Briefing reached out to the PC Party for comment on the Liberal-NDP progressive infighting but did not hear back before publishing time.

The original purpose of Del Duca’s Thursday afternoon announcement was on his party’s pledge to create a new tax bracket for those who make over $500,000, taxing them at a rate of 15.16 per cent.

The afternoon announcement also touched on the party’s promise to add an additional one per cent tax on corporations making a profit over $1 billion. The increase would mean the current corporate income tax rate would rise from 11.5 per cent to 12.5 per cent for companies affected by the policy.

The party is projecting that their new high earners income tax bracket would generate over $1.1 billion dollars over four years and affect only 0.2 per cent of Ontarians.

The corporate income tax hike is expected to bring in $497 million in revenue for the province.

Both the NDP and Greens are proposing similar plans that would see more people experience tax hikes.

The NDP’s plan would increase taxes on those who earn over $220,000 by a per cent, while those earning over $300,000 would see a two per cent tax hike.

Ontario’s highest tax bracket currently taxes those who make over $220,000 at a rate of 13.16 per cent.

The NDP are also promising to increase the corporate income tax rate to 13 per cent.

According to the New Democrats, their personal income tax increases would see the province rake in nearly $1.7 billion over three years, while their corporate tax increase would see the province bringing in over $4.8 billion in revenue over two years.

The Greens are proposing a one per cent surcharge on households that make over $200,000 that would bring the province nearly $5.3 billion in revenue over four years.

That party’s corporate tax increase would see large corporations paying an additional two per cent over four years. Greens are projecting that the province would be able to generate over $6.5 billion over the course of that time.

In response to a question as to why the Liberals decided to add an additional tax bracket that would increase taxes on a smaller group of people compared to the NDP’s and Greens’ plans, Del Duca dodged the question and instead took aim at the NDP and PCs .

“They [NDP] decide on the back of a napkin, that they’re going to update their plan according to which way the wind is blowing,” Del Duca said. “What people are looking for now is stability, strength, and resilience and a government that has a responsible and fully costed plan to actually deliver on that, not more of back-of-the-napkin license plate changes like Doug Ford or seven revisions to a platform in the span of four weeks.”

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