Ontario to hold June election after opposition rejects budget

Fri May 2, 2014 4:17pm EDT
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By Leah Schnurr and Cameron French

TORONTO (Reuters) - Ontario will head to the polls in June after the budget presented by the Canadian province's minority Liberal government was speedily rejected by opposition parties.

Kathleen Wynne, premier of Canada's most populous province, moved to dissolve the provincial legislature on Friday after Andrea Horwath, leader of the left-of-center New Democratic Party (NDP), said she would no longer back the government.

The NDP had propped up the Liberals and helped pass the government's budget last year.

Tim Hudak, leader of right-leaning Progressive Conservatives, which have the second-largest number of seats in Ontario's legislature, had already said his party would not support the budget.

With just 48 seats in the 107-seat Ontario legislature, Wynne's Liberals needed the backing of at least one opposition party to pass the government's budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year and avert an election.

Wynne said the election would be held June 12.

"Andrea Horwath and Tim Hudak have made the decision to go into an election," Wynne said. "I was, and am, fully prepared to implement our budget, implement our plan, and they have made a decision that we're going into an election."

In rejecting the budget on Friday, the NDP's Horwath accused the Liberals of failing to live up to promises to cut auto insurance rates, create a provincial financial accountability officer and improve home healthcare services.   Continued...

Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath speaks during the "We Are Ontario" rally organised by the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) in Toronto April 21, 2012. REUTERS/Mark Blinch