Two days after the PCs publicly targeted Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, Ontario PC leader Tim Hudak flatly refused to engage in a debate about his party's plans for Ontario workers and unions.
"On Sunday night, Tim Hudak's labour critic attacked both me and my union, implying that we were connected to organized crime and demanding to know why we did not agree with PC plans to set Ontario's labour laws back 70 years," Thomas said.
"On Monday, I challenged him to a public debate on the matter. On Tuesday, he refused on live television. I was also surprised at his reasons for avoiding the debate."
Asked point-blank whether he would accept Thomas's challenge, Hudak told Global TV's Alan Carter, "Listen, I enjoy debate, I enjoy the fight. I really had no talent in life except running my mouth — that's why I got in politics."
Admitting to a tendency to engage in meaningless talk, without a basis in reason or fact, further confirms his lack of qualifications to be Ontario premier, Thomas said.
"Look, I'm not looking for a fight, but the PCs have targeted me and my union using innuendo, falsehoods and distortions. I believe in the direct approach. If you're going to call me out by name, you'd better have the courage to back up what you say," he said.
"The PCs continue to attack the lives and jobs of committed and hardworking public employees who provide valued services to thousands of citizens, and quite frankly I'm sick of it."
"Running off at the mouth is not a strong qualification for running the province. If Tim Hudak enjoys debate, as he says, then let's go."
Hudak's interview with Global's Alan Carter is online at http://globalnews.ca/news/1021643/hudak-talks-election-nuclear-power-subsidies-babies/ . Carter's question about the debate begins at the 4:18 mark.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas (613) 329-1931 (cell)