Progressive Conservative Premier Doug Ford is urging Canadian voters to topple Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in next year’s federal election.
Introducing Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer at Queen’s Park as “the next prime minister of Canada,” Ford stepped up his attacks on Trudeau over the Liberals’ plan to put a price on carbon to tackle climate change.
“The carbon tax (is) the worst tax ever,” the premier said Tuesday.
“There’s only one way — one way — we’re going to get rid of the carbon tax and that is by getting rid of Justin Trudeau,” said Ford, who will spend up to $30 million on a legal challenge of the federal measure.
Ontario’s premier is still smarting from Trudeau’s decision to unveil the Liberal climate plan last week in Ford’s home riding of Etobicoke North, held federally by Science Minister Kirsty Duncan since 2008.
Ford’s shot at the prime minister echoes the fractious relationship his predecessor, former Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne, had with former Tory prime Stephen Harper.
Wynne campaigned against Harper in her successful 2014 provincial election and again in Trudeau’s 2015 federal victory.
Scheer, who said he has “always believed climate change is real” and is affected by human behaviour, welcomed Ford into the fray as the two Tory chiefs do battle against Trudeau’s scheme.
“It’s wonderful all the new voices that are coming out to fight this carbon tax,” said the federal leader, who has yet to unveil his party’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Asked if he felt in any way threatened by Ford’s apparent national political ambitions, Scheer said: “Not at all.”
“There’s great co-operation between provincial and federal parties when we have interests and common ground,” he said.
In Ottawa, Intergovernmental Minister Dominic LeBlanc said Scheer was “at Queen’s Park today getting his marching orders from Doug Ford on Stephen Harper’s failed plan to deal with climate change.”
“Canadians expect their governments to take action to combat climate change and that is exactly what we are doing,” said LeBlanc.
“Putting a price on pollution is good for the economy and good for the environment, which means that it’s good for the middle class.”
Robert Benzie is the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie