By Charlie Senack, Manotick Messenger
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]The ice storm did not stop Ontario PC Leader Doug Ford from rolling up to the Nepean Sportsplex on his new campaign bus, for his first campaign-style rally in Ottawa.
On Monday April 16, about 700 Ottawa Conservatives packed the Nepean Sportsplex for a rally held by Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod, who has represented the community at Queen’s Park for the past 12 years.
Some key politicians, both past and present, were in attendance. They included Carleton PC candidate Goldie Ghamari, former Mayor of Ottawa Larry O’Brien, Deputy Leader of the Federal Conservatives Lisa Raitt, and Former Government Leader of the Senate, Marjory LeBreton of Manotick.
This was Ford’s first rally in Ottawa since being elected leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives on March 10. He said the Nepean event was the largest and loudest crowd he has ever seen.
The new Ontario PC leader took the opportunity to bash the Wynne Government, and reassured supporters that she will be out of office come June.
“Over the last 15 years, we have seen this province get destroyed,” Ford food the crowd. “We have watched our debt grow 300 per cent to the largest national debt in the entire world.”
One of the main points that came up during the 20-minute rally was the cost of Hydro. Earlier on in the day, Ford was in Orleans where he said he spoke to a woman who told him she was unable to pay her hydro bill or rent.
“My heart breaks when I hear people like that because they’re struggling,” said Ford. He added that he would fire the CEO of Hydro One, who made $4.85 million last year in salary and benefits.
Ford also promised that if elected, his Government would not charge income tax to minimum wage workers who earn less than $30,000 a year.
“The liberals decided to put minimum wage up to 14$ (per hour), but what they don’t realize is that people on minimum wage are getting gouged with taxes,” said Ford. “The common sense approach is let’s help the most vulnerable people in our society.”
The previous week, Ontario Premier, Kathleen Wynne was in Nepean at Tailgators Bar and Grill in Merivale Mall for the launching of Bob Chiarelli’s campaign. They both took jabs at MacLeod, and held up a brochure that MacLeod has been handing out at the doors saying she has helped open 20 schools since being elected into Queen’s Park in 2006.
“(Lisa MacLeod) may have cut the ribbon, but Kathleen Wynne delivered the cheque,” said Chiarelli.
During the rally, MacLeod acknowledged the comments Chiarelli made, and said that the Liberals are getting scared leading up to the June 7, election. She added that Ford’s crowd size was much bigger. About 100 people attended Chiarelli’s campaign launch on April 7, compared to 700 at Ford’s.