Kathleen Wynne says Doug Ford's victory 'changes very little' for Ontario Liberals
'Even though we disagree about many things, I welcome him to provincial politics,' Wynne said
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne congratulated newly minted Tory leader Doug Ford at a campaign rally in Brampton on Sunday, but said the news "changes very little" for her Liberals heading into the spring election.
"Never a dull moment in Ontario politics these days," Wynne quipped as she took the stage in front of a crowd of supporters.
"I would like to wish Doug well. Even though we disagree about many things, I welcome him to provincial politics," she continued.
"However, this news changes very little for us. Who we are fighting against has changed, but who we are fighting for has not."
Wynne went on to highlight that in his campaign to be leader of Ontario's Progressive Conservatives, Ford promised to scrap a carbon tax that would have provided billions in funding for Tory initiatives under the platform introduced by former PC leader Patrick Brown.
With the exception of a tweet posted shortly before the rally began, the comments were the premier's first on Ford and his razor-thin victory over his rival Christine Elliott.
In his own brief address to a room full of media and a handful of supporters late Saturday night, Ford took aim Wynne.
"To the people of Ontario, I say, 'Relief is on its way.' And to Kathleen Wynne I say, 'Your days as premier are numbered.'"
Congratulations to the Conservatives on electing their new leader, and to Doug Ford on a successful race. Wishing them well.—@Kathleen_Wynne
A statement released by her Liberals after Ford's win was announced, however, was more confrontational.
"The Ontario Conservatives have gone back in time to pick the most Conservative leader they could find" and pointed to Ford's courting of social conservatives as a bad sign for women's rights in the province," the statement said.
There’s a stark choice for voters on June 7. They will choose between Conservatives who want to slash spending just when families need it the most, and an Ontario Liberal Party that believes government is a force for good & knows that now is the time to invest in care.—@Kathleen_Wynne
"The Conservative Party is going into this election with more radically conservative policies than Mike Harris, Tim Hudak or Stephen Harper ever ran on," said Deb Matthews, Liberal MPP and co-chair of Wynne's campaign.
"The billions in cuts they are promising, and the divisive social conservative policies they are championing will hurt Ontario's economy and change our province for the worse."
Wynne was in Brampton to formally announce that the Liberal candidate in the new provincial riding of Brampton East will be Parminder Singh. Singh was the first host of the Punjabi edition of Hockey Night in Canada.