ONTARIO ELECTION | Ford, Horwath spar in northern debate as Wynne defends her record

Doug Ford and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath are sparring during the provincial election's northern debate, as Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne defends her government's record in the region.

Ahead of the debate, the Progressive Conservative leader attacked the NDP which has traditionally enjoyed support in the north slamming a candidate who he says was a professional anti-mining activist.

He says the NDP used to claim to fight for workers in the province's mines, mills and factories, but now they serve what he calls ``downtown Toronto elites'' and environmental extremists.

Horwath shot back by saying it's more extreme that Ford has spoken about driving a bulldozer himself to get roads built in the Ring of Fire.

The Liberal government has long promised to develop the chromite-rich region and last year secured an agreement with three First Nations to start road construction.

While Ford criticized the Liberal record on the issue as being all talk, Wynne says he has another thing coming if he believes the Ring of Fire will move ahead without respectful dialogue.