This morning the Toronto PA team, hosted a pre-Ontario election event at our office that included a panel discussion with MPPs from each of the political parties.  We were delighted to welcome Howard Hampton, former leader of the NDP, Progressive Conservative MPP Peter Shurman (Thornhill) and David Zimmer, MPP (Willowdale) for the Liberal Party.

The three panelists wasted no time in comparing their priorities with those of their opponents. As each party tried to define its role and connect with the ‘voters’ in the room, the discussion quickly became  a microcosm of what we can expect once the writ is dropped in less than 100 days.

Mr. Hampton showed his depth of knowledge and years of experience as leader of the party.  Zimmer focused on his government’s priorities and achievements over the past eight years while Shurman provided highlights of the PC’s recently unveiled platform, changebook.

Our clients were able to engage in a discussion with the MPPs and get of sense of the direction each party is heading in.  Questions focused on the impact of the HST on Ontario’s economy and what each party would do to improve Ontario’s health care system.  There was an active debate around electricity rates and what those mean to the average Canadian.

If the panel discussion is any indication of the election to come, we should all prepare ourselves for an in-depth policy discussion on Ontario’s future.

Atul Sharma is an account director in Hill+Knowlton’s Toronto Public Affairs practice.  He came to Hill+Knowlton with over 15 years of experience in government and public affairs in a variety of positions within government and associations.