A first debate of leaders in Ontario, in the north of the province

Leaders of Ontario’s four major parties clashed over the cost of living, jobs and infrastructure in northern Ontario on Tuesday in the first debate of this election campaign.

In this debate organized in the North Bay, the four leaders specifically quarreled over the cost of housing and health care. They defended their record and accused their opponents of having false plans that would ultimately hurt the Ontarians.

“You have a lot of choices, a lot of choices in this election,” said Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford, who is seeking a second term on June 2. You will choose the Liberals who want to overthrow us, or vote the NDP, who want prevent us from advancing. But if you want to move forward, you have only one choice: the Ontario Conservatives. ”

New Democratic Party leader Andrea Horwath said Ford’s plan was based on reiterated promises from the 2018 campaign. Last platform, and he did not address these topics, for example highway 69 “to Sudbury , he mentioned.

Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca backed Ms Horwath on the Conservative premier record. “I heard Mr. Ford speak today as if he hadn’t been Premier of Ontario in the past four years,” Del Duca said.

Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner, the only member of his party to win a seat in the Ontario Legislative Assembly, was not actually attacked by his opponents on Tuesday.

He promised that if he becomes Prime Minister he will revamp Queen’s Park. “We need new solutions to old problems,” Schreiner said. We can’t wait any longer. “

“Airbnb” and the housing crisis

The Green leader said he would tackle the problem of affordable housing by building cohesive communities, where citizens can live and work, and by regulating ‘Airbnb-style’ short-term rentals.

“We need to put up a register (…) to make sure there is enough housing for people living in the North,” he said.

Similarly, Mr. Del Duca noted that short-term rents are exacerbating the housing crisis and that Liberals will not allow the industry to continue unchecked. “As long as I believe in the free market, we can no longer allow simple market forces to regulate in the midst of this kind of crisis,” the Liberal leader said.

Mr Ford did not draw the same link between short -term rents and house prices, instead focusing on the extra income they provide to landlords, and the money that business travelers bring to northern communities.

“We encourage people to go and spend their money on tourism,” Ford said. Both of these people go to town, go to restaurants, go to stores and create more jobs and more income.

Mr Del Duca and Ms Horwath also attacked Mr Ford’s mental health record. The Conservative leader insisted his government had invested $ 30 million to build 224 drug treatment beds. But Ms Horwath said Mr Ford had limited the number of safe injection sites, which the Tory leader had denied.

Ms. also said. Horwath that a New Democrat government will create a more comprehensive system to deal with the opioid crisis. “We knew we could save lives by making those investments, by having rehab beds, detox beds, with services that support people afterwards,” he said.

“Our plan includes transitional housing as well as supportive housing, so people who are starting to rebuild their lives can have supportive and affordable housing.”

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