Think Ontario needs Hwy. 413? Then vote for me, Doug Ford says in new ads
Oct. 8, 2021
In a new blitz of campaign ads, Premier Doug Ford is signalling that controversial construction projects like Hwy. 413 and the Bradford bypass will be key election drivers.
The Progressive Conservatives unveiled three slick television ads on Thursday that serve as strategic signposts for the direction of the June 2 vote.
“I hear it all the time, politicians are famous for finding reasons to say ‘no.’ That’s not me. I’m Doug Ford, leader of the Ontario PCs, and we’re the party saying ‘yes,’” a cheery Ford intones over footage of him smiling and meeting voters.
“Yes, to building highways you can drive on, so you don’t sit in gridlock,” the premier continues.
“Yes, to building homes more families can afford. We are the only party looking to the future and we’re ready to build.”
In another 30-second commercial criticizing Andrea Horwath, a female narrator derides the NDP leader as a politician who “says one thing and does another.”
“She talks about tackling the housing crisis but opposes building more homes. She says she’s against gridlock but opposes building highways,” the narrator says as the message, “No, to the 413 highway,” flashes across the screen.
Horwath shrugged off the Tory attack.
“It’s no secret,” the New Democratic leader said of her party’s opposition to the 60-km highway connecting Milton from Hwy. 401 to Hwy. 400 at Vaughan.
“I’m proud to be a protector of the environment,” she said. “I’m proud to say that I don’t believe we need to be building new highways, plowing through the Greenbelt, plowing through farmland.”
The proposed highway would raze 2,000 acres of farmland, cut across 85 waterways, and pave over about 400 acres of protected Greenbelt land in Vaughan.
Similarly, the Bradford bypass, a 16.2-km freeway connecting Hwy. 400 and Hwy. 404, would cross 27 waterways and cut through environmentally sensitive Holland Marsh lands.
“We should have learned that that is not the way of the future,” said Horwath
“It’s just shocking that this government wants to go forward with these kinds of plans.”
But Environment Minister David Piccini, who took over the portfolio in the June cabinet shuffle, said the Tories want to curb gridlock to help reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that contribute to climate change.
“We know that transportation is one of the number one GHG emitters. (Ontarians are) not in gridlock when we’re investing in transit and we’re investing in GO trains and subways,” said Piccini.
“This government understands that you’ve got to build highways, you’ve got to build subways, you’ve got to build GO train (lines), you’ve got to build the infrastructure for (electric vehicles) as well,” he said.
The third Tory ad, which does not mention highway construction, is aimed at Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca.
“Remember life under Kathleen Wynne? Steven Del Duca wants to take us back. He was Kathleen Wynne’s right-hand man,” the female narrator warns over photos of the two Liberals and close-up video of Del Duca from his Facebook page.
“Together they sent your hydro bills skyrocketing, sold Hydro One, all while Liberal insiders got rich,” the narrator says, referring to the former Liberal premier’s sale of the province’s majority stake in the electricity transmission utility.
“Ontario crumbled under Kathleen Wynne and Steven Del Duca. Let’s not go back.”
In an internal memo from campaign director Christine McMillan to Liberal MPPs and candidates, the party called the attacks a badge of honour.
“Doug Ford’s Conservatives have now joined the NDP in running attack ads against our leader, Steven Del Duca,” wrote McMillan, referring to New Democratic ads set to be released Friday.
“Neither has a positive plan to make life better by making our classrooms safe, providing working families with affordable daycare, or helping small businesses,” she wrote.
“Instead, the NDP and now Doug Ford’s Conservatives are turning to their old playbook -- attacking the only party with a positive plan trying to help the people of Ontario. In June, Ontarians will have a choice between the divisive attacks of two parties desperate for power, or the positive, forward-looking Ontario Liberal plan.”