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Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne faces dangerous tractor driving accusations

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne drives a tractor with instruction from farmer Sandra Vos (right) at a campaign event in Paris, Ontario on Tuesday May 20, 2014, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

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Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne drives a tractor with instruction from farmer Sandra Vos (right) at a campaign event in Paris, Ontario on Tuesday May 20, 2014, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

PARIS, Ont. - Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is facing accusations of dangerous driving — on a tractor.

Wynne was campaigning Tuesday at a farm in southwestern Ontario where she promised new funding for the agriculture sector if the Liberals win the June 12 election.

She drove a blue tractor down a muddy lane on the farm to a waiting bank of journalists and cameras, with farm owner Sandra Vos sitting next to her.

Tractor safety guidelines say drivers should not have any passengers, and not long after Wynne's announcement ended the Progressive Conservatives sent out a news release saying Wynne "set a very bad example."

The Tories cited Health and Safety Guidelines for Ontario Tobacco Producers that farm tractors have killed 250 people on Ontario farms in a "recent fifteen year period," many of them were the result of extra passengers falling off.

Many Twitter users posted a similar photo of PC Leader Tim Hudak sitting on a blue tractor — with another man standing next to him.

When asked about the Hudak photo, which was taken last year at an agricultural event, the Tories responded that the tractor in that photo wasn't moving.

However, Wynne's spokeswoman later supplied video taken at the event that clearly shows Hudak driving the tractor with a passenger standing beside him.

Liberal campaign co-chair Deb Matthews said she was unaware of the "tractor kerfuffle."

"What I can tell you is that there are really important issues in this election campaign, and I suspect how the premier drives a tractor is not one of those issues," she said during a conference call with reporters.

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