TORONTO — Ontario’s Liberals and New Democrats say the confidence-and-supply agreement between their federal counterparts demonstrates that voters want politicians to work together and get things done. 

But the Progressive Conservative government says Liberal-NDP coalitions in Ontario haven’t been good for the economy. 

Government House Leader Paul Calandra pointed to a coalition between those parties in the 1980s – the first time such an agreement between two parties was  tried in Canada – which he argued led to higher taxes and debt in Ontario.

“The federal government, they will decide what path is appropriate for them. We saw in the province of Ontario what this type of coalition meant for the people of the province,” Calandra said Tuesday. 

“It led to, really, a decade of extraordinary difficult times for the people the province of Ontario.”

Calandra said the provincial government needs to have a strong relationship with the prime minister, no matter what party is in power. 

Meanwhile, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the agreement in Ottawa shows Canadians that New Democrats will work to get things done.

She highlighted the proposed health elements of the plan including dental care for low-income residents and universal pharmacare, two ideas her party has campaigned on.

“You can see that when you elect New Democrats, they actually get things done that make your life better and easier,” she said.

Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca says residents want politicians to work together on outcomes rather than partisan objectives.

Their comments came amid news of an agreement between the federal Liberals and the NDP that would keep Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government in power until 2025 while agreeing to expedite bills on shared priority issues.

Their comments came amid news of an agreement between the federal Liberals and the NDP that would see the opposition party support Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s minority government on confidence votes until 2025 while agreeing to expedite bills on shared priority issues.

Neither provincial opposition leader fully committed to the idea of forming a coalition or similar agreement after the expected June election. They both said they would not support a government led by current Tory Premier Doug Ford and said they are campaigning to win.

Del Duca, whose party will be fighting to regain ground lost in 2018 when the Liberal caucus was reduced to seven members, said he hadn’t discussed the idea with Horwath but said he is “prepared to have conversations.”

In a tweet, Horwath thanked federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh for “delivering real support for Canadians, like strengthening public health care with dental and pharmacare.” 

“In just 72 days, we can form an NDP (government) in Ontario that builds on these wins and starts to fix what matters most,” she wrote.

The CEO of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario also remarked on the federal Liberal-NDP agreement, saying the organization hopes the announcement “will help many more people access oral health care.”

“As the regulator for dentistry in Ontario we know that oral health care is essential for good health. But many patients cannot get the oral health care they need because they cannot afford it,” Daniel Faulkner said in a written statement.

“Improving access to dental care is a strategic priority for us as we work to protect the public interest and to ensure high quality patient care.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 22, 2022. 

Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press



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