Quebec Premier François Legault arrives in Ontario for provincial economic recovery summit

Ontario Premier Doug Ford (front) and Quebec Premier François Legualt sip beer in Toronto. Legault is in Ontario for a two-day summit hosted by Ford to discuss how the two provinces can work together to rebuild their economies. Tuesday, Sep. 8, 2020. Staff/Global News

Quebec Premier François Legault arrived in Mississauga, Ont., Tuesday for a two-day summit hosted by Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

The two premiers are set to discuss economic recovery amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Both Legault and Ford boasted of a strong bond and how the health crisis has drawn them closer together.

“Over the months we’ve developed a good relationship,” Legault said in French. “It has been intense in the last six months due to the pandemic but we helped  each other get through the challenge.

“We are now working on the economic challenge.”

Read more: Coronavirus: Quebec and Ontario premiers, cabinet ministers to meet during 2-day summit

One of the issues raised by the premiers during a press conference ahead of the summit is the growing threat of protectionism, especially from the United States.

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“The best response to that is to work together on purchasing,” Legault said. “Buying in Ontario and buying in Quebec.”

Read more: Ontario budget deficit projected to jump to $38.5 billion in 2020-2021

The two provinces also hope to use their economic and political clout in negotiations with Ottawa.

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“Together we have a GDP of $1.1 trillion,” Ford pointed out, adding that a strong economy in Quebec and Ontario benefits everyone — a point reiterated by Legault.

“I think that together we are very strong. We have 60 per cent of the population, 60 per cent of the economy, 60 per cent of the political weight, so when Ontario and Quebec win, everyone wins,” he said.

Read more: Liberals to unveil ‘ambitious green agenda’ in throne speech, Trudeau says

Prominent cabinet ministers from both governments, including health, economy and finance ministers, will also take part in multiple meetings during the event.

“We’re happy to host our friends from Quebec and look forward to a real constructive and collaborative relationship,” Ford said.

— With a file from The Canadian Press

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