Justin Trudeau is schooling Premier Doug Ford over the labour unrest in Ontario schools.
The federal Liberal leader, who wants to link Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer to the Progressive Conservative premier, sounded off against Ford on Tuesday in Richmond Hill.
“I am a parent with kids in the Ontario public system and I really wish that Doug Ford would spend as much time focusing on my kids’ school as he does focusing on supporting his federal party,” Trudeau told reporters.
His comments came as 55,000 Canadian Union of Public Employees members are working to rule in hundreds of Ontario schools and teachers are in bargaining talks.
“Canadians have a clear choice. Conservative politicians that hide their promises, don’t deliver platforms that are costed, and then deliver cuts to Canadians to the services they need while giving tax breaks to the wealthy,” the Liberal leader said.
Lashing out at Ford’s “cuts and austerity” measures, Trudeau warned Scheer will bring more of the same.
“Now, Andrew Scheer is telling people across the country to double down on Conservative leadership, to double down on the kind of cuts that Doug Ford is bringing in,” he said.
“He’s even got the same approach on platform, he’s not releasing his costed platform. You know who did that? Doug Ford did that,” said Trudeau.
“Why didn’t he release a costed platform because he didn’t want people to know that all he was going to do was cut services for people and cut taxes for the wealthiest.”
As the Star revealed on Monday, Ford, who has no plans to campaign for Scheer, wants to keep his powder dry until after the election.
But provincial Tory sources confide that the premier, who extended the legislative recess until a week after the Oct. 21 election to help Scheer, is “getting sick of the cheap shots” from Trudeau.
His officials took to Twitter on Tuesday to remind Trudeau that under Ford “spending on education is up $700 million” over the previous Ontario Liberal government while health-care funding rose $1.3 billion.
The Tory leader appears to have only said “Doug Ford” once during the campaign — when CP24’s Stephanie Smyth asked him on Sept. 12 if Ontarians can “expect to see Doug Ford campaigning with you?”
“I will leave it to Doug Ford to decide what he wants to do. I’m focused on our campaign,” Scheer told Smyth before changing the subject.
As he does most days during campaigning, Trudeau on Tuesday repeatedly cited Ford in English and in French.
Conservative sources have said that Scheer’s candidates are urged to mention Ford’s Liberal predecessors if voters raise the Tory premier.
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“Our candidates remind Canadians that the same people who worked for Kathleen Wynne and Dalton McGuinty now work for Justin Trudeau. They left behind scandals and deficits and are following the same playbook now,” a federal Conservative campaign official said.
The insider noted federal Conservative candidates are discouraged from getting into a debate about Ford at the doorsteps.
Polls show the premier — who has a 25 per cent approval rating and a 63 per cent disapproval rating for an overall minus 38 per cent, according to the most recent Campaign Research survey — has been hurting Scheer in Ontario.