Metro/Graham Lanktree Friday Ontario Transport Minister Bob Chiarelli called on Sandra Pupatello, who stepped down as Minister of Economic Development and Trade in 2011, to run in the Liberal leadership race.

Ontario Transport Minister Bob Chiarelli endorsed Sandra Pupatello for the leadership race Friday while also blasting Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak as a flip-flopper whose policies are “full of holes.”

“I’ve already indicated to her that I will heartily endorse her if she becomes a candidate,” said Chiarelli of Pupatello, who is the current director of business development and global markets at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. “I think she had the skills and attributes that the party and province need at this time.”

Before leaving for the private sector, Pupatello spent 16 years at Queen’s Park where she held several ministerial portfolios in Liberal governments under Dalton McGuinty, including education and economic development.

“She’s a very efficient communicator and a committed leader,” Chiarelli said. “I’m strongly encouraging her to throw her hat in the ring. If she doesn’t, then I’ll be considering my own future in that regard.”

After endorsing Pupatello, Chiarelli lashed out at Tim Hudak, who in recent days has bit into the Liberals for proroguing the legislature.

“I have trouble taking at face value what Tim Hudak says,” said Chiarelli. “He has flip-flopped on just about every issue we have. As in the first election campaign, all his pronouncements on policy now are just full of holes. They’re not researched, they’re not cohesive. He had no plan then and he has no plan now.”

With a new leader at the helm, Chiarelli said, the Liberals need a new direction on what to do about transit in major cities. “We have called for a national transit program. The province has committed to building $12 billion worth of transit across the greater Toronto area. The federal government has only contributed $330 million to that.”

“It’s denigrating the competitiveness of the economy in that area,” he added. “We know we have a lot of congestion building here in Ottawa. We will be looking at new programs to increase transit, transportation and the movement of goods.”

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