Ontario Premier Doug Ford attended a cabinet meeting Thursday afternoon at Queen’s Park but avoided awaiting media by secretly being rushed into the executive council chamber.
The premier dodged questions about the election and why federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has been avoiding being tied to Ford.
Scheer has been seen as steering clear of Ford because of his low approval ratings in Ontario.
The premier has previously said he will not involve himself in the federal election despite being repeatedly attacked by Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.
Last month, Ford would only say: “I’m too busy governing and he’s too busy campaigning and that’s fine.”
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While multiple cabinet ministers, including Christine Elliott, Lisa Thompson, Lisa MacLeod, Vic Fedeli, Doug Downey and others simply rushed past press, a handful did stop including Education Minister Stephen Lecce, who said: “All federal leaders will have their own approach on how best to appeal to the population.”
Lecce said he and the rest of Ford’s cabinet are focused on moving Ontario forward.
“I’m going to respect the decision of the federal leaders, I appreciate it’s an election and a time of politics,” Lecce said.
Monte McNaughton, Ontario’s new labour minister, avoided commenting on Scheer’s stance on Ford but did say: “I think people right across Ontario think the province is headed in the right direction and there will be six weeks of lots of debate and I’m confident we are going to see people choose change right across the country.”
When asked about the premier’s low approval ratings McNaughton said: “I spend time in my riding, I spend time in local restaurants and people are happy with the change that we are doing. We are getting the fiscal house in order we are investing in healthcare and education.”
Social Services Minister Todd Smith said Ford’s no-show with the press was because “we are busy making sure that Ontario is running and implementing all the things that we promised to do for the people of Ontario.”
Smith claimed Ford makes himself available to constituents regularly and has been doing so since he took office.
“He’s been everywhere all over Ontario talking to people all over the province about everything that we are doing and he wants to hear from the people of Ontario too to make sure that we are on the right track and I think what he’s hearing is that we are,” Smith said.
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