Premier Kathleen Wynne asked that the Ontario legislature be dissolved Friday after NDP Leader Andrea Horwath announced she would vote against the Liberal's latest budget.
Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak had already indicated his party would vote no, meaning Wynne's minority government was doomed on the next confidence vote.
"Andrea Horwath and Tim Hudak have made the decision to go into an election," Wynne said. "I was and am fully prepared to implement our budget."
The premier's visit to the lieutenant-governor's office Friday averted scheduled gas plant committee appearances next week by prominent Liberals Monique Smith, who led Wynne's transition team, and Laura Miller, a senior aide to former premier Dalton McGuinty whose boyfriend was allegedly given access to government hard drives.
Horwath said the growing list of scandals attached to the Liberal government, including the decision to cancel two gas plants at a loss of up to $1.1 billion, and her lack of confidence in Wynne to deliver on her budget promises were behind her party's decision to pull the plug.
"I cannot in good conscience support a government that people don't trust anymore," Horwath said.
Wynne had given Horwath until May 8 to decide but she rendered her decision one day after Finance Minister Charles Sousa delivered his supposedly NDP-friendly budget.
"Kathleen Wynne cannot even build a raft. How do we expect her to actually build a ship?" Horwath said. "We will not be voting in favour of any confidence motion including the budget."
Wynne wasted no time blasting away at the opposition, accusing the Progressive Conservatives of being anti-labour and in favour of a low wage economy.
She also criticized Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, accusing him of ignoring Ontario's fiscal and economic needs.
Wynne said the NDP are hostile to business at a time when the province needs job creation.
"We'll be burdened with reckless financial decisions and a hostile attitude towards business at a time when Ontario needs growth in jobs," Wynne said. "We can't veer off to the (political) left or the right. We can't risk that."
A confidential e-mail sent to Liberal campaign managers reveals that Wynne's team believes it can steal Toronto seats held by NDP members with the right message.
"There are possible seat gains to be made in the waterfront ridings of downtown Toronto," the e-mail says. "The easiest and most profitable way to do this will be to play on a sense of economic risk around the NDP, building off of a noteworthy percentage of NDP voters who are already concerned about the NDP's ability to manage the economy."
The Liberals have been dodging an election bullet since they were elected as a minority government in 2011.
Horwath abstained in the vote on former premier Dalton McGuinty's budget of 2012, and voted in favour of Wynne's budget in 2013, allowing the Liberal government to remain in power.
Hudak, who voted against both budgets and has long called for an election, said he's excited to put his "Million Jobs Plan" to Ontario voters.
"I think that Andrea Horwath and the NDP took their marching orders from big government union bosses," Hudak said. "They propped up the Liberals for two years now. That means that half the hydro hikes, half the gas plant scandal, is on the NDP's back."