02.07.2011 12:51 PM

I’m sure Rocco Rossi will straighten it out for them (updated many times)


[Toronto Star] Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak’s fledgling election campaign has stumbled over whether he would scrap the Liberals’ health tax.

Last week, Hudak’s office said Health Minister Deb Matthews “lied” when she warned in a speech to nurses that the Tories would slash the tax, which brings in about $3 billion a year to provincial coffers.

“Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak has been very clear. If elected premier, he would not cut the health tax or Ontario’s health care budget,” said a news release last Thursday following Matthews’ address.

Tory MPP Sylvia Jones (Dufferin-Caledon) echoed that message in a scrum with reporters, blasting the health minister for “lying.”

But in a press conference Monday at Queen’s Park, Hudak contradicted both his office and Jones, insisting that getting rid of the health levy of up to $900 per Ontarian was still “on the table.”

NDP MPP Peter Kormos (Welland) said there appears to be confusion in the Tory ranks as they craft a platform for the Oct. 6 election.

Liberal officials will respond to the apparent flip-flop later Monday.

UPDATE: More Hudak confusion, here, from BCL.

UPDATED: And the Globe, here, comes out with a few bon mots to describe the whiplash-inducing move: “flip-flopped on a key plank,” his “vague pronouncements were at odds with a statement released by his own party,” it’s “a policy flip-flop,” and so on.

UPDATED AGAIN: The Canadian Press headline:  “HUDAK FLIPS ON FUTURE OF ONTARIO HEALTH TAX FOUR DAYS AFTER SAYING HE’D KEEP IT”…he’s “backtracking,” Hudak “repeatedly refused to explain,” said CP in a straight-up news story.  The Sun: “The Tories are flip-flopping on the health tax.” More to come.


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    JenS says:

    One of Hudak’s disciples already gave the “it will cost too much to repeal” spiel about the HST, and I’ve no doubt the song’s about the same when it comes to the health care premium. Same guy also told me Hudak’s got an iron-clad platform, but if they’re still dithering on stuff like this, which should be their bread and butter, I just can’t see how that can be so.

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    Harith says:

    I knew I heard a slapping noise…

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    JM says:

    Health tax repeal, too hard; HST repeal too expensive. But lower beer prices; now we are talking.

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    Namesake says:

    The EuTimerics:

    Hu-dak’s twirl
    Running around with you
    Tell me
    Hu-dak’s whirl
    Spinning around with truth

    The language of Tim
    Has left me stony grey
    Tongue tied and twisted
    At the price I’ve had to pay
    Your careless notions
    Have silenced these emotions
    Look at all the foolishness
    Your cutter’s talk has done

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    Marc L says:

    Of course McGuinty has never flip-flopped. Of course not. Talk about throwing stones in glass houses!

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      Warren says:

      Marc, I don’t think you understand.

      This is huge. This tax change was the centrepiece of Hudak’s entire economic policy.

      Without it, the whole house of cards falls down.

      ‘You’re in another province, and I don’t expect you to follow this closely.

      But every news organization is hammering Hudak on this – because they, too, know it is huge.

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        JenS says:

        Not only has it been central to his policy, but he has spent much of the last 18 months blathering on about it. He’s given nothing concrete of his own – he’s simply criticized, and most specifically on these issues.

        Beyond that, i’m not sure the “but the other guy did it, too!” argument ought hold much weight in politics. It doesn’t when my seven- and nine-year-old are the ones saying it … But then, I give them more credit than I do to many politicians.

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      Harith says:

      Hudak is raging against this tax and that tax and trying to rile up the Ontario voters to vote him in based on the fact that he will rescind all these evil taxes.

      And now, even before the PC’s plan is official (whenever THAT will be), Hudak is going back on what he’s saying.

      Completely silent about HST, and flip-flopping on other issues. What next?

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