Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he won’t campaign for the federal Conservative Party in the next election because he is too busy running the province, but he is urging party members to rally around new leader Erin O’Toole.
Mr. Ford congratulated Mr. O’Toole – who represents the Toronto-area riding of Durham – for winning a hard-fought leadership campaign. But the Premier said he won’t be getting involved in the next federal election, which could come as early as the fall.
“I won’t be campaigning for anyone, like I didn’t last time either. I am so swamped right here, I’m going literally around the clock, every single day, and I can’t take my eye off the ball for an election or anything else,” Mr. Ford told reporters at Queen’s Park on Monday.
“I’m going to take the high road here. I’m going to just work hard with Ontario. I wish them all the best.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prorogued Parliament last week until late September. When it returns, a Throne Speech will trigger a confidence vote and, depending on the outcome, possibly a general election.
Mr. Ford has been working closely with the federal government during the pandemic, appearing alongside Mr. Trudeau at an announcement last week, for instance, and frequently praising Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland.
But Mr. Trudeau repeatedly attacked Mr. Ford on the campaign trail in 2019. Former Conservative leader Andrew Scheer did not campaign with or even mention the Premier, who at the time was facing an outcry over spending cuts. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney was brought in to campaign in the Toronto area instead.
As his government tackles the COVID-19 crisis, Mr. Ford has worked to repair his image and has enjoyed a close working relationship with Ms. Freeland, who was recently named Finance Minister.
“I think the world of the Deputy Prime Minister. We are able to get a lot accomplished just by communicating and collaborating – and along with the Prime Minister as well,” Mr. Ford said.
He said he will work with governments of any stripe.
“I’m too busy to get involved in any election in the future – and I’m not going to either. So I wish everyone all the best, and let the best person win,” he said.
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