LONDON, Ont. — With only two days left and the latest polls showing her party locked in a dead heat with the Progressive Conservatives, Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne vowed Monday she would never back the Tories.
"I would never support a Tim Hudak government," she said to a small London crowd.
Her comments were meant as a double whammy against New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath, who earlier in the day refused to rule out a coalition with Hudak’s Progressive Conservatives.
Wynne took more swings meant to hit both her competitors with one blow, urging on-the-fence voters and NDP supporters to vote Liberal on Thursday.
"The best way elect a Tim Hudak government is to vote for NDP right now," she said, repeating a mantra she started delivering Sunday.
"We need to be very clear that a vote for Andrea Horwath right now is a vote for Tim Hudak, that’s the reality."
She asked her backers to talk their neighbours out of voting NDP.
"In order to stop Tim Hudak, we need your support," she said to tell them.
Unlike earlier Monday, when two school buses pulled up to meet Wynne at a London high school — plastered with signs protesting the Liberal government over policies independent bus drivers say are putting private companies out of business — there were no protests at the London West stop.
Members of the Ontario Independent School Bus Operators Association have dogged the Grits on the campaign trail, saying the government has made bidding on jobs an unfair process that small private operators can’t win against bigger companies.
The latest polls show Wynne and Hudak in a neck-and-neck race.
"This is a tight race between me and Mr. Hudak and it will be him or it will be me, it will be them or it will be us in this room and we better make sure it’s us," Wynne said.
Earlier, she blitzed through Stratford to plug the Liberal candidate in Perth-Wellington, a riding the Grits lost in the last election when cabinet minister John Wilkinson went down by a handful of votes. Rural land owners concerned about wind turbines near their property formed a strong lobby that may have cost Wilkinson the election.
The Laurier Institute for the Study of Public Opinion and Policy is predicting Southwestern Ontario to go to the Conservatives with 16 seats compared to five for the Liberals and four for the NDP based on an aggregation of polls from Abacus, Ekos, Forum Research and Ipsos Reid conducted between May 28 and June 6.
Under that scenario, released Monday, the Tories would gain one seat in the region over their 2011 showing.
Last time, the Liberals won seven seats in the 20-riding region and the NDP two.