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Premier Ford says he won't be drawn into federal election campaign

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he won't be drawn into the federal election despite being the subject of frequent attacks from Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.

‘I know you want to see me scrap it out with the feds,’ Ford told reporters

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he's been too busy governing to campaign on behalf of Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, who has rarely mentioned the premier's name during his own events. (Angela Johnston/CBC)

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he won't be drawn into the federal election despite being the subject of frequent attacks from Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.

Ford made the comments during only his second media availability since the campaign began in September.

Ford says he's been too busy governing to campaign on behalf of Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, who has rarely mentioned the premier's name during his own events.

Ford's comments came in Kenora, Ont. where he made a local infrastructure announcement on Wednesday evening.

The provincial legislature was initially meant to return from its summer break early last month, but Ford extended the recess until after the Oct. 21 vote.

'I'm just not going to do it'

His name has nonetheless come up frequently throughout the campaign, with Trudeau trying to paint Ford and Scheer as cut from the same cloth.

"I know you want to see me scrap it out with the feds," Ford told reporters. "I'm just not going to do it."

Ford, whose Progressive Conservatives won a majority last year, has seen his popularity plummet since then.

Trudeau, seizing on those sinking figures, has repeatedly invoked Ford's name and policy decisions, telling voters that a Conservative government in Ottawa would try to bring in the same kind of cuts the PCs instituted when they won in June, 2018.

Ford declined to respond to Trudeau's specific attacks, making a quip instead about the notoriously antagonistic relationship between the two leaders.

"I think the guy loves me or something, because he constantly mentions my name," Ford said of Trudeau. "But that's politics."

Ford's government has launched several attacks against Trudeau and taken the federal government to court over its national carbon tax plan.

For his part, Scheer has not appeared with Ford — or mentioned the premier's name — during the campaign. He has said that he is ready to run against Trudeau, but the Liberal leader is desperate to run against anyone other than him.

Premier laying low during election campaign

The premier has been laying low for weeks, making himself available to answer journalists' questions just once since the federal election campaign began in mid-September.

The provincial legislature was initially meant to return from its summer break early last month but Ford extended the break until after the Oct. 21 vote.

Ford, whose Progressive Conservatives won a majority last year, has seen his popularity plummet since then, with recent polling showing his approval rating in the 20s and 30s.

With files from CBC's Desmond Brown

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