Doug Ford is brushing off attacks from Justin Trudeau after the prime minister repeatedly criticized the premier on his government’s record over the past few weeks.
“I’m too busy governing and he’s too busy campaigning and that’s fine,” Ford said. He made the remarks during a press conference on an unrelated announcement with Toronto Mayor John Tory Friday morning.
“You know, I take it as a compliment,” Ford said.
“He feels that threatened about me?”
Trudeau has made repeated jabs at Ford in recent weeks, seemingly in a bid to capitalize on the poor poll numbers the Progressive Conservative premier has seen throughout much of 2019.
According to Christian Bourque, vice president at market researcher Leger, recent numbers show the federal Conservatives appear to be feeling a “spillover effect” from Ford’s unpopularity in Ontario, with the Liberals at 38 per cent support in the province to the Conservatives’ 30 per cent in the lead up to the federal election on Oct. 21.
Trudeau appears to be trying to maintain that trend up to election day.
WATCH: (Aug. 14) Trudeau: I don’t have to tell anyone in Ontario what cuts to funding mean
During a meeting with Liberal election candidates at the end of July, Trudeau didn’t mention federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer by name, but did repeatedly make references to Ford.
“Conservative politicians love to say they’re ‘for the people,’ but we all know what happens when they’re in office,” Trudeau said.
“We’ve seen repeatedly just how far they’re willing to go to help the wealthiest few, how quickly they’ll make cuts … The middle class can’t afford another Doug Ford.”
Trudeau has attacked Ford on his policies a number of times since then, including on cuts the Ford government made to legal aid, which included eliminating funding for refugee and immigration law services.
The Ford government, meanwhile, has argued the federal government should shoulder the costs for legal aid relating to refugees since immigration is a federal responsibility.
Trudeau also attacked Ford on a number of topics during a press conference on gun violence with Mayor Tory on Aug. 13 in Toronto, including on funding for combating gun violence and infrastructure funding.
When asked at that press conference why he was attacking Ford instead of Scheer, Trudeau said, “One of the things we’ve seen with conservative politicians in general … (is) they don’t deliver.”
Trudeau also spent time attacking Ford during a speech at a union convention in Quebec on Monday.
WATCH: (Aug. 19) Trudeau knocks Ford, Scheer during remarks to union workers
One of the most contentious issues between the two leaders is the carbon tax, and on Friday, Ford again reiterated his intentions to fine gas stations if they don’t display anti-carbon tax stickers on their pumps by Aug. 30. Ford, however, said the fine may not be the maximum amount of $10,000 per day for corporations.
Ford has remained largely quiet on Trudeau’s attacks until he was asked about it Friday morning.
“I’m not getting involved in the federal election,” Ford said. “I’m busy straightening out all the problems we inherited and we’re going to continue straightening out the problems. But I wish all the different parties good luck in the federal election.”
WATCH: Ontario gas pump sticker violators will face fines, Ford says
– With files from Amanda Connolly and The Canadian Press