Premier Dalton McGuinty holds press conference at Queens Park discussing the budget and the possibility of a summer election Friday June 15, 2012.
Credits: Craig Robertson/QMI AGENCY
TORONTO - Ontario's political leaders talked about talking Friday but did nothing to calm election tension.
"My job is to do what I think is right," Premier Dalton McGuinty said. "If they won't let me do my job, I've got to take it to Ontarians and I have to ask them for their direction.
"Ontarians don't want an election but they do want the recovery and that's what our budget is all about."
McGuinty was speaking just moments after NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said she is "disappointed" with the election talk.
"The premier is threatening an election because I'm doing exactly what I said I was going to do," Horwath said.
Though they both said they're prepared to keep talking, McGuinty said nothing has been ruled out, including proroguing the legislature.
The official Opposition Progressive Conservatives, however, have kept quiet about the drama - despite the fact PC members on the finance committee effectively triggered it by unexpectedly supporting NDP amendments on privatization, environmental rules and arbitration.
PC Leader Tim Hudak said nothing Thursday about the committee vote and was conveniently out of Toronto Friday morning. His deputy, Christine Elliott, was to meet with reporters later Friday.
"I don't think that's responsible, but I'll give them credit for consistency," McGuinty said of the Tories' vow to vote against the budget at every opportunity.
In April, the Liberals and NDP crafted a deal to get the budget through the minority legislature. It granted the NDP's request for a wealth tax on high earners and an end to scheduled corporate tax cuts.
But Horwath maintains the deal never extended to not trying for further budget changes along the way.
McGuinty says it did, and that the NDP amendments jeopardize the government's plan to end the province's $15-billion deficit.
"Yesterday, the NDP turned their backs yet again on an agreement to pass the budget," McGuinty said Friday.
"They joined forces with the PCs to gut the government's budget bill."
The committee meets again on Monday and if an agreement isn't reached, an election could be called for July 19.