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‘I understand their frustration, I really do’ Premier says on a possible trucker rally at Queen’s Park

Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks during a press conference at Queen's Park in Toronto, Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021. Documents show that one hospital out of dozens that wrote to Ontario Premier Doug Ford over a possible COVID-19 vaccine mandate opposed the idea of mandatory shots. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

The premier says he can’t stand provincial lockdowns just as much as the next person.

Doug Ford spoke with 900 CHML’s Good Morning Hamilton‘s Rick Zamperin about the state of the province and some of the issues regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

He says he’s grateful for everyone’s hard work and patience and acknowledges it hasn’t been easy.

“My team comes up to me and say, ‘Hey, you got to have patience.’ I keep saying I’m running out of patience just like everyone else. We gotta get moving forward.”

Read more: Doug Ford says future COVID-19 lockdowns ‘not our goal,’ wants to ‘move forward’ cautiously

Ford admits that at times, he’s felt as though he’s been stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to making pandemic-related decisions like bringing in lockdowns.

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“I’m damned if I do, and I’m damned if I don’t. But I’ve always sided on the side of caution. I always listen to the chief medical officer.”

He says medical officials are seeing positives with the numbers coming down and more capacity being made in hospitals.

Ford was also asked about his thoughts on a possible trucker rally at Queen’s Park protesting lockdowns and vaccine mandates as there has been in Ottawa.

 

“I just hope it’s always a peaceful protest, we live in a democracy (so) if people want to come down and protest, God bless them. I understand their frustration.”

He also says he feels for the Ottawa businesses that have been negatively impacted by the protests on Parliament Hill because they’ve been unable to safely reopen.

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With the premiers meeting soon to ask for more health-care transfer money, Ford says it’s long past time the problem was fixed.

“We can’t sustain the spending moving forward on the Canadian health transfers. And I gotta be fair to this government — it’s not just this government. It’s government after government for decades…. It’s just not sustainable.”

Ford says he’s hopeful this government will fix the problem, adding that health-care spending used to be a 50-50 split between the federal and provincial governments — and now the provinces are on the hook for more than 75 per cent of the costs.

Read more: Doug Ford says he won’t run for federal Conservative leadership if O’Toole loses vote

However, he says he’s not willing to enter the federal arena of politics if the opportunity presents itself. At least, not yet.

“I love my job as premier, I love the people of Ontario and we still have a lot of work to do and move forward and get our economy booming.”

He adds he’s 100 per cent focused on the province right now, and that he’s grateful and proud to be premier of Ontario.

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