The new leader of Ontario’s Opposition says he wants to straighten out the province’s finances and is eager to take on Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne in the June election.
Doug Ford, who was made the leader of the problem-plagued Progressive Conservatives late Saturday, says he’s determined to form a government that will drive efficiencies.
Ford says he spoke with Wynne this morning and stressed that she’s a respected campaigner who he’s not going to underestimate.
But he says Wynne has never debated him before.
Earlier today, Wynne said Ford’s selection as Tory leader won’t change her party’s plans for the June vote, pitching herself as the candidate ready to invest in people.
Wynne noted that she and Ford are very different, saying that voters will have a “stark” choice to make in the weeks ahead.
“Mr. Ford and I disagree on a lot of things,” she said. “I think what we are putting forward as a platform is very, very different than what any of the Conservatives were putting forward, which is cutting and removing supports from people.”
Ford won the Tory leadership by narrowly beating out former Tory legislator Christine Elliott, who initially questioned the results before conceding nearly a full day later.
“We’re moving forward on a united front,” Ford said. “We can’t wait to take on Kathleen Wynne and start putting money back into taxpayer’s pocket.”
Over the course of the leadership campaign, Ford repeatedly vowed to wrest control of the party from elites and give a voice to the grassroots members. He also touted his experience running the Ford family’s label-making business, saying it had prepared him to run an efficient government.
“We’re going to reduce hydro rates, start attracting great-paying jobs and business,” he told reporters on Monday. “We’re going to go down to the border and put that great big neon sign I’ve been talking about — ‘Ontario’s open for business.’”
Ford has promised to scrap a proposed carbon tax that formed a key pillar of the party’s election platform introduced under former leader Patrick Brown, criticized the Liberal government’s sex education curriculum and said he’d allow caucus members to vote with their conscience on policy matters.
Ontario heads to the polls June 7.
The Canadian Press