Progressive Conservative leader talks up Skyway twinning and makes pitch for Tories
Doug Ford steamrolled into Niagara-on-the-Lake on Thursday morning — literally.
Ford made a campaign stop at McNab Acres on Niagara Stone Road, where he drove a modern pavement roller over a patch of asphalt.
He then spoke about the twinning of the Garden City Skyway and pitched the Progressive Conservatives as the best choice in the impending provincial election.
“We’re tackling the hardest problems and delivering real solutions. That means rebuilding Ontario’s economy with better jobs and bigger paycheques so our kids and grandkids can build their future here in Ontario,” Ford said from the bed of a tractor trailer.
Ford touted the investment into the twinning of the Garden City Skyway as a uniquely Progressive Conservative project and spared no time in making the focus around the provincial election.
“The Liberals had their chance to invest in a new Skyway bridge but, no surprise, they didn’t get it done,” he said.
“(Liberal leader) Steven Del Duca had his chance. He was Kathleen Wynne’s minister of transportation.”
The Garden City Skyway was originally targeted for expansion in a 2014 report by MMM Inc., a study that started in 2011 under Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals.
The study found the Skyway would need to be replaced by 2025.
Ford said the twinning of the bridge would be a boon for everyone in Niagara Region, as traffic would have a better flow during peak hours.
And he had no kind words for his rivals for the premiership.
While the Liberals failed to deal with the Skyway they did find time to “increase gas prices, impose new road tolls and jack up the cost to renewing your licence plate,” he said.
Ford said the New Democratic Party is the party of “no.”
“No to progress. No to building.”
A journalist from The Lake Report asked Ford how his party would relieve the suffering of Ontarians at the gas pump after he claimed the opposition parties would increase gas prices even more if they won.
“I just wish I could partner with the federal government and knock off 11 cents, even if it’s temporary. The carbon tax, we’ve got to give people a break,” he said.
Ford claimed the PC party has already knocked 10 cents off of gas prices.
“But we’re going to continue to focus on delivering items right across the board that will save people money,” he said.
“We can’t do it alone. We really need the support of the federal government.”
A reporter asked Ford what it would take for him to drop a candidate who is anti-abortion. Ford's answer seemed to suggest abortion rights are not a significant issue for Ontario voters.
“I know our opponents. They want to keep talking about everything else but what matters to the people of Ontario,” he said.
“It’s very clear they are trying to dodge every which way possible because they never got the job done.”
“They jacked up all the taxes and they’re trying to avoid the real things that matter to the people of Ontario.”
Regarding COVID-19, Ford said his team is following all the protocols of chief medical officer of health for the province, Dr. Kieran Moore.
“Our plan is to keep the province open, the economy open,” he said.
Throughout the election campaign many Tory candidates have declined to take part in debates, including Niagara Falls riding candidate Bob Gale's refusal to take part in a debate last week hosted by YourTV.
“What I think is important is they’re out there door-knocking, speaking to thousands and thousands — matter of fact, we’re door-knocking tens of thousands of doors every single day,” Ford said.
He emphasized his party's platform is about building.
“We’re going to start building, continue to build bridges, roads and highways,” he said.
“We’re building hospitals and schools.”
Regarding the expropriation of land for the twinning the Skyway, Ford said the province is working through Infrastructure Ontario and all due diligence will be done.