Toronto·The Campaigner

Wynne tries to walk away, but Ford won't let go of smile remark

It's the first weekend of campaigning for the Ontario party leaders after a week of two debates that saw PC Leader Doug Ford twice comment on Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne's smile and Andrea Horwath's New Democrats gain momentum on the trail.

Why a London riding could be anyone's game after years of being a Liberal stronghold

Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne tried to break away from the handshake but PC Leader Doug Ford didn't let go. (CBC)

It's the first weekend of campaigning for the Ontario party leaders after a week of two debates that saw PC Leader Doug Ford twice comment on Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne's smile and Andrea Horwath's New Democrats gain momentum on the trail.

Ford and Wynne are making stops in Toronto this weekend, while Horwath stays north of the city.

Here's where we are on day four of the campaign.


The moment 

Ford to Wynne: "Still like that smile"

4 years ago
Duration 0:10
At the end of the Northern Debate in Parry Sound, PC Leader Doug Ford shook Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne's hand and compliments her smile for the second time this week.

It happened again. Ford said he liked Wynne's smile for the second time this week at the Northern Debate in Parry Sound on Friday.

Wynne went in for a handshake at the end of the debate and Ford held on for a little longer and said, "Still like that smile."

Ford didn't take questions after the debate, but Wynne did and she told reporters she has no clue what's behind the extended handshake and the "smile" comment. 

Wynne reacts to Ford's comments on smile

4 years ago
Duration 0:17
Kathleen Wynne reacts to Doug Ford commenting on her smile during the northern leaders' debate.

Farrah Khan, co-chair of a provincial round table on violence against women, said Ford's behaviour is unacceptable.

"We want a premier that is actually going to recognize and listen to women's voices," she said in an interview with CBC Queen's Park reporter Mike Crawley. "This makes me really nervous when I see something like this."

Even Horwath has called the situation "awkward."

Farrah Khan reacts to Ford's second smile comment

4 years ago
Duration 0:30
CBC Queen's Park reporter Mike Crawley speaks to Farrah Khan, co-chair of the provincial round table on violence against women, reacts to PC Party Leader Doug Ford's smile comments towards Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne.

Riding to watch

London North Centre, population 125,360.

By Colin Butler 

This riding has been solidly Liberal red since 2003 and with the retirement of political heavyweight Deb Matthews — it's anyone's game.

Filling Matthews' political shoes is Liberal Kate Graham, a city hall bureaucrat with 10 years in local government and a PhD in political science. This is Graham's first time in the political ring.

Progressive Conservative candidate Susan Truppe was a one-term parliamentarian, winning the riding in the 2011 federal election against then Liberal incumbent Glen Pearson before being unseated in the 2015 federal race that saw Justin Trudeau's Liberals form a majority.

With two politically formidable women to contend with, London teacher and union steward Terence Kernaghan likely has a tough fight on his hands as the New Democrat candidate in the riding, which has never elected an NDP candidate in its 67-year history.

Dispatch from the Northern Debate

By Chris Glover

If Andrea Horwath had a song playing as she left the Parry Sound debate Friday, it could have been Alicia Keys' This Girl Is On Fire. In the conservative heartland of Parry Sound (the PCs have held it since 1948!), Horwath had the audience eating out of the palm of her hand.

Her showing in Parry Sound felt weird for two reasons.

First, Doug Ford — who barely seemed to know Horwath previously — was sticking it to her at every turn. Second, talking with mayors and councillors in the audience after the debate, some told me they were surprised they were even considering the NDP. The race is just beginning. There's still lots of time. And a few mayors laughing at your jokes does not make you premier, but it's a surprisingly good start.

Where are the leaders

  • Ford: Campaign office opening York South-Weston (10 a.m.), campaign office opening in Scarborough Centre (11 a.m.), announcement in Etobicoke (2 p.m.), rally in Caledon (4 p.m.)
  • Horwath: Event in Sudbury (10 a.m.), Simcoe-North campaign office opening in Orillia (3:15 p.m.), meeting with local candidates in Barrie (4:40 pm.)
  • Schreiner: Campaigning in Guelph (10 a.m.), conversation with Guelph community (5 p.m.)
  • Wynne: Announcement in Toronto (9:20 a.m.), visit to Muslim wellfare centre (12 noon), attending a barbecue in Hastings (6 p.m.)
Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne speaks to the media after taking part in the second of three leaders' debate in Parry Sound, Ont., on Friday. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

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Victoria Valido is a producer based in Ottawa for the CBC News parliamentary bureau. She has produced for Power and Politics, The House, Rosemary Barton Live and The National. Previously, she was CBC Toronto's Social Media Producer. She also produced local Toronto TV newscasts and worked on CBC Radio One's Metro Morning and Here and Now. You can email story ideas to