A month is a long time in politics. And, Susan Delacout writes, the past month has made a difference in Ontario's politics:
Trudeau and Ford will be having what’s widely expected to be a cordial meeting in Ottawa, to talk over what they can do together to help the province.
Officials for the prime minister were saying on Thursday evening that they were cautiously optimistic about both the tone and potential for progress at the meeting, especially on issues related to infrastructure and transit.
For his part, Ford doesn’t seem to be holding any post-campaign grudges.
“Politics is politics and I have a pretty thick skin and I understand what he was doing,” the premier said when asked about how he’ll work with a leader who cast him as an enemy for 40 days running. “When I had a conversation with him, I told him politics are done and let’s roll up our sleeves and start working together.”
And there is no talk of alienation:
All the talk of Western alienation in the wake of the federal election has almost erased the memories of the running antagonism between Ford and Trudeau during the campaign. It raised very real questions about how Ottawa and Ontario could possibly work together.
But note, as Ford surely has, that no one is talking about “Ontario alienation” in the aftermath of the election and the national fissures it has exposed. More than half of Trudeau’s new cabinet members are from Ontario, and the Toronto contingent is placed in some of the most senior roles: Chrystia Freeland as deputy prime minister, Bill Morneau in finance, Bill Blair at public safety.
Trudeau is reportedly going to urge Ford to cultivate deeper relationships with all of these ministers, especially Freeland, who is also going to be serving as minister of intergovernmental affairs.
Indeed, the Freeland-Ford relationship may be the one to watch in the coming months.
Freeland proved during trade negotiations in Washington that she knows how to deal with difficult people. Politics should not be about obliterating your opponents. It should be about creating win-win scenarios. Who knows? Perhaps such a scenario can happen in Ontario.
Image: The Toronto Star