Wild Last Campaign Days Bring Bombardment of TV Ads
By Susanna Kelley
As the frenzied last week of the Ontario election begins, voters can expect a bombardment of television ads across their screens.
This is when the campaign breaks - in the last 7 days, which this time falls right after the crucial leaders' debate, people are making up their minds.
All three parties are deep into negative ads, trying to convince those crucial swing voters to cast their ballot for their party.
But it's also when so-called "third party" ads are at their height, such as this one obtained by OntarioNewsWatch.com.
Launched by the labour-backed group Working Families and called "Hudak Knows," the ad accuses PC leader Tim Hudak of saying he'll create jobs while knowing he will cut 100,000 public servants:
Mr. Hudak has been public about his plan to cut 100,000 public servants, but says that will help lower the deficit which will in turn help create jobs.
Working Families has played a controversial role in this and other campaigns.
It crops up at election time to run advertisements against the Progressive Conservative party.
Mr. Hudak has accused it of being a front for the Liberals, but it is actually a coalition of unions whose funding has been provided by their members in Ontario.
The Tories have taken WF to court several times to try to get its advertising declared illegal. However, the courts have consistently ruled against the PCs.
Working Families is not to be confused with another group called "Working Canadians" which is funded by Merit Canada, an association of construction companies that lobbies for an end to compulsory union membership in the construction industry.
The construction companies that fund it would benefit from Mr. Hudak's policy to lower the number of licensed journeymen (plumbers, electricians etc.) required by law to train an apprentice from three to one. This saves companies money, as they will obviously have to pay the higher wages of 2 fewer journeymen.
Working Canadians is also running election ads that, while not mentioning the Liberals, encourage Ontarians to vote against those at Queen's Park who they say have been "lining the pockets of union bosses."
The reference is obviously to the Liberals, who, while having no direct control over the salaries of elected union leaders, have been accused of awarding higher wages to public sector employees who are unionized.
Working Canadians was also vocal in supporting Mr. Hudak's plan to bring "right to work" legislation to Ontario. Based on an American 1947 court decision, "right to work" would have allowed employees in unionized workplaces to refuse to pay union dues but still collect the benefits bargained by the unions in collective agreements. Right to work laws have bled unions of funds and members, weakening the labour movement significantly in the U.S.
Mr. Hudak announced several months before the election he would no longer support bringing in right to work laws and in fact, promised not to do so if he was elected Premier.