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GOLDSTEIN: Trudeau and Ford were allies in ending Freedom Convoy

Toronto Sun logo Toronto Sun 2022-10-20 Lorrie Goldstein
Ontario Premier Doug Ford (left) and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. © Provided by Toronto Sun Ontario Premier Doug Ford (left) and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
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If Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was privately criticizing Ontario Premier Doug Ford for shirking his responsibilities during the Freedom Convoy in Ottawa, he was saying the opposite in public.

According to a condensed transcript of a phone conversation between Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and Trudeau on Feb. 8, released by the public inquiry, Trudeau told Watson: “Doug Ford has been hiding from his responsibility on it for political reasons as you highlighted,” and it was, “important we don’t let them get away from that.”

But six days later on Monday, Feb. 14, in announcing his unprecedented decision to invoke the federal Emergencies Act to end the three-week long protest against vaccine mandates, Trudeau publicly praised Ford.

Minutes into his statement, Trudeau said:

“On Friday (Feb. 11), Ontario invoked a state of emergency to respond to the blockades. This was the responsible and necessary thing to do. Today, to continue building on these efforts, the federal government is ready to use more tools at its disposal.”


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Simultaneously on Feb. 14, Ford said publicly that he backed Trudeau’s decision to invoke the federal Emergencies Act, unlike other conservative premiers.

“I support the federal government and any proposal they have to bring law and order back to our province, to make sure we stabilize our business and trade around the world,” Ford said.

Politicians say different things in public than they do in private all the time. What they say often depends on rapidly changing circumstances.

The very nature of a political leader’s job, often makes them two-faced.

If the Watson-Trudeau account of their phone conversation is accurate, it means that on Feb. 8 Trudeau was frustrated with Ford, believing he wasn’t doing enough to end the protests.

But his position changed within 48 hours, after Ford agreed to invoke Ontario’s emergency legislation on Feb. 11, and support Trudeau invoking the federal Emergency Act on Feb. 14.

Ford is now being criticized by some Conservative MPs, according to a CBC report, for saying Monday that he stood “shoulder to shoulder” with Trudeau in ending the Freedom Convoy protest, which is silly.

Ford was simply repeating what he said Feb. 14.

Indeed, Ford should be called as a witness to the inquiry because his decision to invoke Ontario’s emergency legislation was a factor in Trudeau’s decision to invoke the federal law.

If Trudeau believed Ford was shirking his duties to end the protests, their differences were resolved by Feb. 11.

That’s why Trudeau said Wednesday when asked about his comment that Ford was shirking his responsibilities, that while there were times when the two levels of government weren’t working together during the protests, in the end:

“Doug Ford invoked his emergencies act. We invoked our Emergencies Act. We put the citizens of Ontario, the well-being of families, the well-being of our economy ahead of the interests of illegal protesters, and we were glad to stand together on that. And as you saw on Monday, we continue to stand together on this even as we’re making important economic announcements for the future of Ontario.”

That was a reference to such things as federal financial support for Ford’s goal of converting Ontario’s auto sector into the production of electric vehicles.

No matter how many Conservatives and Liberals may detest the idea, the relationship between Trudeau and Ford has evolved from 2018, when Ford campaigned on being Trudeau’s worse nightmare, and Trudeau questioned Ford’s intelligence.


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