Wynne raises Walkerton tragedy

Premier Kathleen Wynne was raising the spectre of the Walkerton Water tragedy in the provincial election campaign today. It was 14 years ago that the disaster of contaminated drinking water hit the town. And Wynne is sending out the message that it could happen again under if the Conservatives are elected and carry out their plans to cut back government employees.The water tragedy hit Walkerton in the year 200, killed seven people and making thousands more sick. It followed cutbacks in the Mike Harris era that included water inspectors. And the premier’s message today was new cutbacks could mean new tragedies.The Walkerton Clean Water Centre was set up after the water disaster in 2000. Wynne repeated again and again that decisions have consequences. And warned of the consequences of Conservative leader Tim Hudak’s to cut 100 thousand government jobs: “And you cannot fire water and food inspectors without affecting the monitoring of the water we drink and the food we eat.”She sayas Hudak’s cutbacks would be even deeper that the Harris cutbacks: “I think it’s rather sad to see the premier of Ontario trying to take advantage of that for political gain. I expected better than that from Kathleen Wynne.”The Consevative leader indicated this is a new low for the election campaign. And that his cutbacks would not affect health or safety. For her part, NDP leader Andrea Horwath was promising help for small businesses and people making minimum wage: “An NDP governemnt will lower corporate tax rates. Increasing minimum wage to 12 dollars an hour.”Later, the Premier was in Waterloo, promising continued support for special needs children.“Here in Waterloo, the Liberals are trying to win back the Kitchener-Waterloo riding they lost to the NDP in a byelection in 2012, helping to keep Dalton McGuinty from getting the majority governement he wanted.”And yet again, Wynne faced the question of how she can convince people to vote Liberal following the Liberal governemnt’s scandals under Dalton McGuinty: “I’m the leader of the Liberal party. I have been the premier for just over a year. I’m taking my record, my integrity and the changes that I have made in the last year and bit to the people of the province.”So Wynne is playing down the connection between her and the McGuinty government, saying it’s different now. But with Hudak promising widespread cutbacks, she’s playing up the connection between Hudak and the Harris government, indicating there doesn’t seem to be much difference.