Scheer downplays Doug Ford comparison
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer downplayed comparisons to Ontario Premier Doug Ford Thursday, saying he’s been upfront about where a Scheer government would cut to afford his promised tax cuts.
Speaking to Newstalk 1010 host John Moore Thursday morning, Scheer was asked why his campaign appears to be avoiding the polarizing premier despite targeting many of the seats won by Ford in the last provincial election.
Moore pointed out that Scheer has seemed reluctant to even mention the premier by name on his travels through the seat-rich Toronto suburbs.
“Doug Ford and I have met previously, we’ve chatted previously,” Scheer said.
“He’s obviously opposed to the carbon tax, a big part of my platform is scrapping the carbon tax, (but) he’s not the only one,” added Scheer, pointing out several other conservative premiers oppose the Liberals’ carbon pricing plans.
When Moore suggested that voters may worry that a Scheer government would be a federal version of Ford’s tumultuous first year at Queen’s Park, Scheer suggested only “Liberals are saying that.”
“Voters in Ontario know what happens when the Liberals govern with massive deficits that lead to higher taxes and get mired in scandal and corruption,” Scheer said. “So when people are looking for lessons to be learned from provincial politics, my message to voters is we can limit the damage to one term.”
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has repeatedly tried to tie Scheer’s campaign to Ford’s government, warning that a federal Conservative government would embark on a similar path of cutting federal services.
The Conservatives platform, released last Friday, lays out $34.5 billion in cuts and push back on $18 billion in infrastructure spending to balance the federal budget within five years. The cuts include $14.4 billion in unspecified cuts to government operations.
Ford, who has kept an uncharacteristically low profile during the federal campaign, has privately expressed frustration at Trudeau using him as a punching bag and Scheer distancing himself from a fellow conservative.
But speaking in Kenora Wednesday, Ford continued to stay above the federal fray.
“You know something? I told Andrew Scheer right from the get-go, I’m not getting involved. We’re busy,” Ford said at his first news conference since Sept. 17.
Ford admitted he has taken note of Trudeau’s apparent obsession.
“But that’s politics — and good luck to him. I’ve proven over the last year and a half that we’ll work with any government.”