Jan 26, 2013 – 10:29 AM
Harinder Takhar makes final pitch: ‘Ontario can do better for everyone’
(…) Liberal leadership candidate Harinder Takhar made his final pitch for the Premier’s job today with an acknowledgement he’s not a household name in Ontario.
“Who is this guy? What is he all about?” Takhar asked rhetorically as he took the stage at Maple Leaf Gardens for his speech to about 2,200 convention delegates in Toronto this weekend to choose a successor to Dalton McGuinty.
Aiming his remarks largely at new Canadians, the Mississauga-Erindale MPP recounted how he came to Toronto in 1974 and worked in a factory for $1.85 an hour until he could upgrade his accountant’s credentials and find work in his field.
“It was a difficult and lonely time,” said the 61-year-old former cabinet minister and businessman, whose signature promise in the leadership campaign is to eliminate Ontario’s $11.9 billion deficit by the end of March 2018, a year ahead of the current schedule.
Playing on that, he paraded on to the convention floor and made his way on and off the stage surrounded by supporter to the tune of Bachman Turner Overdrive’s early 1970’s classic, Taking Care Of Business.
Echoing his own experience, Takhar promised that, as Premier, he would ease the process for new Canadians from other lands to have their professional qualifications recognized here in Ontario.
“Ontario can do better for everyone,” he said, as supporters from rival leadership candidate Gerard Kennedy clapped and cheered — another sign that Kennedy has been trying to lure Takhar’s support in a bid to boost his own chances of winning the convention.
Kennedy, a former MP and MPP for Parkdale-High Park, was third place in the race for delegates heading into the convention, behind frontrunners Sandra Pupatello and Kathleen Wynne, with Takhar a very close fourth.