Ontario Premier Doug Ford made a speech about his predecessor Kathleen Wynne Tuesday after the former Liberal premier announced she wouldn’t run for another term as MPP in the next election.
“I have the utmost respect for you,” Ford said to Wynne at Queen’s Park.
“We may differ on policies, we may differ on political outlooks, but as a person, I have the utmost respect for you. You’ve walked a mile in my shoes.
“During the election … Everyone said, ‘How is Kathleen Wynne as a person?’ I said she is super nice.
“Unlike some other people that can be just mean and nasty spirited people, vicious, vicious people,” he said to jeers from some of the Opposition NDP.
“I said, ‘Kathleen was never that way. Always there, very kind, very polite, never took anything personal.’”
Ford said Wynne “blazed a new trail” as Ontario’s first female and openly gay premier.
Few people understand the weight of the decisions premiers must make, but Wynne does, Ford said, and he respects her for it.
“She showed leadership … She made a decision, right or wrong.”
Wynne later told reporters Ford’s speech was “very generous.” She said she’s noticed that his style has changed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“He’s governing in a different way than he did because of that,” she said.
“I do understand what’s going on at three o’clock in the morning when he’s awake … because you carry the job with you all the time.”
Ford’s Progressive Conservatives beat Wynne’s governing Liberals in a landslide in 2018. The Liberals were reduced to just seven seats, one short of the eight necessary for official party status in the legislature.
At the time, Wynne said she hoped Ford would lower the threshold to give Liberals status and perks like a research budget. Instead, his government raised the threshold to 12.
Wynne resigned as Liberal leader but stayed on as an MPP.
She’s often been the target of PC attacks in the legislature, but the premier has changed his tone as of late.
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In late September, Ford foreshadowed these sentiments, saying he could “never get upset” with Wynne because she’d “walked a mile” in his shoes.
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