Hudak accuses Liberals of helping friends, inviting corruption

Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak. CRAIG GLOVER/QMI Agency

Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak. CRAIG GLOVER/QMI Agency

Jonathan Sher, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:20 PM ET

LONDON, Ont. - Tory Leader Tim Hudak stepped up his attacks on the Ontario Liberals Friday, accusing them of showering business buddies with corporate welfare in a way that invites corruption.

“We will end these corporate handouts because they are economically disastrous, and morally wrong,” Hudak told those at a London Chamber of Commerce lunch.

“This crony capitalism — big government getting into bed with big business — is how corruption starts,” he said.

The location of his attack was no surprise. No region in Ontario has been harder hit by or slower to recover from recession than the southwest.

And Hudak has ground to make up, according to QMI Agency poll done by Abacus Data that found that only 26% of Ontarians think Conservatives are the best party to manage jobs and the economy — five points behind the Liberals.

“The McGuinty-Wynne government just allocated an astonishing $2.5 billion — twice as much as the gas plant scandal — to a corporate welfare slush fund to be handed out at the sole discretion of Liberal politicians. There are no criteria. There is no accountability. There are no rules. The application process is to hire a Liberal insider to lobby,” he said.

If the Tories form the government, the gravy train would stop and savings would be used to cut corporate taxes to 8% — a rate he says would be the lowest in North America.

Also gone would be the practice of using economic development funds to prop up specific businesses — no chance for Kelloggs to take millions for its Belleville plant only to kill more jobs closing its London factory.

The goal is to make the province a great place to start and grow business, not to bestow favours on political friends, he said.

“We’ve seen the pattern. From the sponsorship scandal to the Quebec construction scandal, the original sin was letting politicians decide which company gets a government cheque,” Hudak said.


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