Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak criticized the spending of Premier Dalton McGuinty's Liberals during a visit to Kitchener-Waterloo.

Speaking at a meeting of riding association members, Hudak told supporters that Ontario is being turned into a ‘have-not' province.

He said Newfoundlanders now tell jokes about Ontario and that the Liberals have no plan to reverse the spending that's pushing the deficit and debt higher.

"Look at the track that we're on. Higher taxes, more spending, bigger deficits, we're actually spending $1.8 million more each hour than we take in in revenue today."

Hudak says his party would lower taxes on job creators, investors and entrepreneurs to get Ontario's economy back on track.

The visit is likely to be one of many by political leaders as parties focus on an expected byelection in former PC MPP Elizabeth Witmer's Kitchener-Waterloo riding.

Witmer resigned after being appointed by McGuinty to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, freeing up a seat that could give the Liberals a majority.

But Hudak says the byelection would be the first step to a majority PC government.

"When they made Elizabeth Witmer they broke the mold right, she's a hall of fame inductee, if they had that for MPPs. But you know what, we're going to keep a strong local representation going. We want to have somebody who will follow in her footsteps of fighting for the riding."

Hudak spent about half of his speech praising Witmer and the other half criticizing the McGuinty government.

While the Progressive Conservatives say they're confident and will fight hard, the question remains whether the riding was a PC riding or whether it was Witmer's riding.

"Let's not kid ourselves; Dalton McGuinty doesn't like to have the checks and balances of minority government. He's going to throw out all the stops he can to try to win this riding."

McGuinty will be in Waterloo on Thursday and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is set to visit the region on Friday.

None of the parties has yet chosen a candidate. The byelection must be held in the next six months.