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Ontario election campaign officially begins

Ontario party leaders, from left, Liberal Kathleen Wynne, Conservative Tim Hudak and NDP Andrea Horwath, are shown in recent photos. THE CANADIAN PRESS/stf.

Ontario’s three major party leaders have been campaigning since last week, but the buses officially hit the road on Wednesday as they seek votes in the June 12 provincial election.

Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne campaigned at Christie Digital Interactive Studio in Kitchener and MDA Robotics in Brampton.  She will also help to open a campaign office in Ottawa at 6 p.m.

At a campaign stop in Kitchener, she said the Liberals are the only viable option.

“The Conservatives have demonstrated that they don’t understand how important transportation is. It’s just another reason that I am convinced that we have the better plan for economic growth in this province,” Wynne told reporters.

She also said the Tories are not seeing the whole picture.

“There are many moving parts to making sure that our economy can grow. One of those moving parts, literally, is our transportation infrastructure,” the Liberal leader said.

Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak visited businesses in Mississauga, at Pacific Western Transportation, and in Burlington, at Spin Dessert, with another stop at Brantford’s Mott Manufacturing at 3:15 p.m.

While at the Mississauga venue, Hudak told reporters he’s the person with a plan to get Ontario working.

“The other two leaders, it’s clear [that] they’re going to run a personality contest. They are going to promise you all kinds of things each and every day that they know in their hearts they can’t afford,” Hudak said.

He also said the main issue for Ontario is about creating more jobs.

“I’m the guy with the turnaround plan to get Ontario working again. Today is day one of my mission to create a million new jobs in the province. I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited about it, so let’s get going,” the PC leader said.

New Democratic Party Leader Andrea Horwath held two events in Toronto, one at Queen’s Park and another at SanRemo’s Bakery, followed by a campaign stop at Kitchener’s Cafe Pyrus. She is also scheduled to speak in Niagara Falls at 3:30 p.m.

Horwath said she will put jobs and money matters affecting Ontario families front-and-centre.

“My goal since I first got elected has been to have a government work for the people who pay the bills,” the NDP leader told reports at Queen’s Park.

Horwath also said it’s time for a change and that “after 10 years of scandal after scandal, Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals deserve a time out.”

Wynne pulled the plug on the legislature on June 2 when the New Democrats said they’d join the Tories in rejecting her minority government’s budget.

Ontarians head to the polls on June 12, and there are 107 seats up for grabs. The Liberals currently have 48 seats, the PCs have 37, while the NDP has 21 seats.

Hudak controversy

There was some controversy Tuesday over the use of images from Russia in a Progressive Conservative election TV ad promoting job creation in Ontario.

Hudak didn’t immediately comment, but a party spokesman said he had no idea where the footage came from but defended the commercial as current practice.

Will Stewart, the party’s media director, said it was the way advertising works in the 21st century, and accused the Liberals of playing “gotcha” politics by planting the story.

Wynne didn’t immediately comment but a party spokesperson called the Tories’ claim “baseless and totally false.”

Horwath said she had not seen the commercial and refused to discuss it.

With files from Irene Preklet, 680News.