338Canada: Doug Ford's slipping numbers - 2020-01-26
After last October's federal election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went on a national tour to meet the country's premiers in hope of mending fences. In late November, after a meeting with Doug Ford, many observers were caught by surprise by Ford's candid demeanor. During the joint press conference, Ford spoke of national unity amid policy disagreements with the federal government, and, apparently, had left his characteristic confrontational attitude at the door.
Ford and other premiers had repeatedly attacked Trudeau's Liberals on his handling of, among many files, the carbon tax (and even took the federal government to court—unsuccessfully—on the matter). But those attacks flew in both directions: During the federal campaign, Ford was a regular target of Trudeau's rally speeches throughout Ontario. An anti-Ford Liberal strategy combined with a poor Ontario campaign from Andrew Scheer led Trudeau's LPC to win 79 of the province's 121 federal seats (only one fewer than in 2015).
As an Ontario teacher strike loomed over the horizon, and the prospect of having to deal with Trudeau for perhaps the remainder of his term, Ford probably believed it was time for a provincial-federal truce. Additionally, Ford's PC party had been struggling in the polls of late, but had been at least tied with the Ontario Liberal Party (OLP): In December, EKOS Research Associates measured the OLP and PCPO in a statistical tie with 32 and 30 per cent, respectively.