Mayor John Tory says that he has already spoken with Premier-designate Doug Ford and is confident that the two can forge a “good, solid relationship,” despite any differences that they may have had in the past.
Ford led the PC party to a decisive victory in Thursday’s provincial election but prior to taking over the reins of the party upon the sudden resignation of Patrick Brown he was a frequent critic of Tory and had planned on running against him in the October municipal election.
Tory also had his share of differences with Ford. After Ford launched his campaign for the PC leadership in the basement of his mother’s house Tory even poked fun at him, telling reporters that he would have to “rethink” his own campaign plans since his mother lives in an apartment building and doesn’t have a basement he can use.
Tory also told reporters at the time that he had “trouble keeping up” with the now Premier-designate’s ambitions.
Speaking with CP24 at a community event in the east end on Saturday, however, Tory offered a more diplomatic tone.
He said that he is “looking forward” to working with Ford and is confident that the two can find some common ground, particularly when it comes to building transit.
“My job is never to be necessarily be best friends with or socializing with any of the other people and they probably feel the same way about me,” he said. “We have a professional obligation to have a sound business relationship, to get things done for the people of Toronto. I had a very cordial conversation with Mr. Ford on the phone Friday and I had a meeting with him about 10 days ago which similarly was very constructive in its focus on transit and the need for us to get transit built in the city among other things. I will try to adopt an approach myself that says that we just have to get things done.”
Ford has promised $5 billion for Toronto transit
During the election campaign, Ford promised an additional $5 billion for new transit infrastructure in Toronto, with an expectation that most of that money would go to the construction of subway lines.
Ford did not provide any real details on where the money for that investment would come from, though.
The now Premier-designate also caused a stir when he said that a PC government would “go back to the original plan” for a three-stop subway extension in Scarborough rather than the current one-stop extension, something that would likely bring a massive increase on the cost of a project that already carries an estimated price tag of $3.35 billion with lots of design work left to do.
“He says he want to build transit, I want to build transit so I guess we will work together on building transit,” Tory said on Saturday. “We have a council-approved network transit plan and I look forward to moving forward with that. We have made great progress on that and we need to make a lot more because the city needs to move better.”
Ford has already identified a number of transit projects that he wants to see built, including the relief subway line and the Yonge subway extension into Richmond Hill.
The Premier-designate has, however, said little about some of the other transit projects included in the city’s network transit plan, most notably the Waterfront LRT.
Tory said that in order to get transit built he will ultimately have to work with Ford and MPPs from across the city. He pointed out that in Toronto that will mean working with representatives from all three parties.
“I really take great heart from the fact that a lot of the objectives we all have as elected representatives are common,” he said.