Robert Benzie, The Toronto Star
May 6, 2020

Trudeau’s Liberals successfully used Ford’s unpopularity in Ontario last fall to mortally wound federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s prospects in Canada’s most populous province.

The premier was seen as such an anchor on Scheer that the Tory chief barely mentioned him during the writ period, while the prime minister cited Ford’s name numerous times daily.

But since the Oct. 21 election, Ford and Trudeau have not sparred publicly.

“People have noticed and they approve of Ford because this crisis has put him front and centre on a daily basis,” said [Campaign Research principal Nick] Kouvalis.

“He has refused to engage in public fights with the federal government and the relationship between Ottawa and the province is at a high point, but many of Premier Ford’s changes in approach and process happened in July and August of last year. ”

The pollster noted the premier, who had been a fierce Tory partisan, has set aside political differences to work with Liberal Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and one-time Grit operative Flavio Volpe, the high-profile president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association.

Ford, Trudeau, and Volpe have worked in lockstep to transition automotive companies to make ventilators and other urgently needed medical gear during the outbreak.

“He’s listening to the experts. He’s got medical people, economic people, and political advisers working together.”

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