Eli Ridder | The Post
All four candidates for the Progressive Conservative Party’s leadership election hit hard in the party’s first debate before members vote on Mar. 10 for a new party leader to take on the ruling Liberal Party.
Hosted by Steve Paikin on TVO’s The Agenda, the debate engaged Tanya Granic Allen, Christine Elliot, Rob Ford and Caroline Mulroney in a heated discussion over topics from the carbon tax to minimum wage.
However, all four candidates agreed on several topics including kicking the carbon tax from the People’s Guarantee platform, consultation in regards to sex education and keeping the roll out of the $14 minimum wage and a slower roll out of $15.
There was a clear divide over the status of Patrick Brown, with Christine Elliot and Caroline Mulroney saying they would invite him back into the folds of the party should his name be cleared in regards to sexual misconduct allegations.
Allen made clear that she was against Brown due to what she called “corruption” in regards to nominations for riding’s, skirting the question from Paikin on the Brown allegations.
After being questioned by reporters, Allen said that Brown “bullied candidates for nomination out of running.”
Ford said he would not make his stance clear on the Brown issue, but said he would talk to him if he is elected. He did, however, note a mismanagement under Brown where “elites” had an advantage over nominations, in tandem with Allen.
The former Toronto city councillor said that he would open up nominations and make the party transparent, a position some of the others agreed with.
All four stayed away from formally taking Brown’s side.
Christine Elliot said that her experience serving previously as a Member of Provincial Parliament for nine years gave her the best shot at winning the June election against Premier Kathleen Wynne.
Analysis: $15 at risk
Those hoping for a $15 minimum wage hike on Jan. 1 in 2019 will have to wait if one of the four leadership candidates for the Progressive Conservatives are elected premier in the provincial election.
All four said they wouldn’t touch the $14 hike that occurred at the beginning of 2018, which came about as a part of an Ontario Liberal Party policy.
Only Mulroney offered a timeline, saying the increase will come over the next four years to $15 in consultation with small business owners.
Ford said that he would want to cut taxes to 0 per cent for all minimum wage earners.
More details to follow. Image of the candidates from the CBC.