Down in the polls, Ford says Ontarians want him to ‘keep going, ignore the media’

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Down in the polls, Ford says Ontarians want him to ‘keep going, ignore the media’


“It’s not you — I wish more media outlets were like you — but to put it into perspective we’re up against some of the largest unions in the country that have had their hands in the taxpayer’s pocket for 15 years,” the premier continued.

“We’re up against the special interest groups again. They have their hands in the cookie jar as they say, we’re pulling their hands out and … starting to respect the taxpayers,” he said.

Ford’s comments come as every public poll in recent months has shown his Progressive Conservative government struggling — and potentially hurting the federal Conservatives’ chances this fall.

Some 60 per cent of respondents to the July Corbett Communications poll for the Star said that because of Ford they would be “less likely” to vote for federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s candidates in the Oct. 21 election.

That’s up from 54 per cent in Corbett’s June tracking poll.

Perhaps mindful of his apparent unpopularity, Ford told Brooker he will be remaining on the sidelines during the federal campaign.

“First of all, I’ll address the federal election. I’m staying out of the federal election, I’m busy as anything taking care of the province right now,” he said.

More voters say Ford’s policies will deter them from voting for Scheer

Last month, Ford extended the legislature’s summer recess, which had been slated to end Sept. 9, until Oct. 28, a week after the federal election.

“There’s a misnomer out there that when we aren’t sitting we’re not working. We’re working harder than ever. We have MPPs spread across the province,” the premier said.

“We sat longer than anyone in 30 years so they didn’t have an opportunity to get into their constituents,” he said, referring the lengthy summer and fall session after the June 8, 2018 election when his Tories ended almost 15 years of Liberal rule.

“Now they do. They have an opportunity. We still have cabinet meetings, we still have the caucus meetings, we still have committee meetings. So we’re going full steam ahead. I have not taken a break all summer. I don’t plan on taking a break.”

Ford shuffled his cabinet on June 20, moving 12 ministers — including demoting Vic Fedeli from finance to economic development due to a poorly received budget — and added seven new members to the executive council.

The day after, the premier’s chief of staff, Dean French, a long-time friend and adviser, resigned amid a cronyism scandal that has distracted from PC efforts to reboot the government.

Jamie Wallace, a former Postmedia executive, is serving as interim chief of staff and Amin Massoudi, a long-time aide who worked for the premier’s late brother, former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, was promoted to principal secretary.

But the premier insists he is keeping his eye on the ball despite all the tumult.

“Is this province better off now than we were a year ago? We’re not a little better off, we’re a thousand times better off.”

Robert Benzie is the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie





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