Scheer down­plays Doug Ford com­par­i­son

The Peterborough Examiner - - CANADA & WORLD - ALEX BOUTILIER AND ROBERT BENZIE

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.”

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