Ontario Premier Doug Ford told the provincial legislature he could never be upset with former premier Kathleen Wynne, in an amicable exchange about the province’s pandemic response that was a departure from recent heated exchanges with the official opposition.
Wynne, the Liberal MPP for Don Valley West, asked in question period Tuesday morning why the government allowed casinos to open while the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) is advising hard-hit regions to return to Stage 2.
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“I appreciate the question from the former premier,” Ford said. He added his government is listening to the province’s chief medical officer of health and other health experts, who have done “one heck of a great job.”
“I was looking at a map the other day, Mr. Speaker. Next to Illinois, any region our size in all of North America, we’re testing more people than any of them. We’re absolutely hammering with over 40,000 tests,” the premier said to applause in the house.
“We’re gonna still be vigilant. We won’t take our eyes off the ball for a second,” Ford said, reiterating that he appreciates the former premier’s question.
Wynne responded by saying she “appreciate[s] the complexity” of what Ford is dealing with.
“I was actually thinking last night, what I would do if I were in his shoes,” she said.
The former premier said she would look to Scandinavian countries or other parts of the world instead of comparing Ontario’s progress to that of the United States, and would listen, as Ford said, to Ontario’s health officials.
Wynne also said the government doesn’t seem to be listening to advice from the OHA or teachers, and asked whether the province would follow the advice of its health officials.
In response, Ford said he has spoken to Anthony Dale, OHA’s president and CEO. He said he appreciates the advice and will bring it to the chief medical officer.
“That’s what I’m gonna have to do, and I know that the premier would do exactly the same thing — former premier I should say — would do the exact same thing, and she understands the pressures of this job,” Ford said.
“And you know something, I could never get upset with the former premier, because she’s walked a mile in my shoes. She understands it,” Ford said, to more applause.