Doug Ford praises appointment of ‘amazing’ Chrystia Freeland as federal finance minister

The Progressive Conservative premier of Ontario is hailing the new federal Liberal finance minister.

“I absolutely love Chrystia Freeland. She’s amazing. I’ll have her back, I’ll help her any way we can,” an elated Premier Doug Ford said Tuesday.

As first revealed by the Star’s Susan Delacourt in April, the COVID-19 pandemic has forged a close friendship between Ford and the deputy prime minister.

The premier was visibly delighted that Freeland, who represents University-Rosedale in the House of Commons, is succeeding departing Toronto Centre MP Bill Morneau as federal treasurer.

“I want to congratulate my good friend Chrystia Freeland. An amazing person. I actually texted her this morning to say congratulations. I don’t know how she’s going to do it. She’s working around the clock now,” Ford told CityNews’s Jamie Tumelty in Scarborough.

“There’s no one that would be better in that role than Chrystia Freeland,” he said, pointedly declining to comment on the WE Charity scandal that triggered Morneau’s resignation.

“They’re facing their challenges like everyone is. They’re partners with us.”

Earlier in the pandemic, the two politicians spoke candidly to Delacourt about how they set aside partisan differences to work together to tackle the most serious crisis since the Second World War.

“He and I have actually come to describe one another as each other’s therapists,” Freeland confided last spring.

“Some of the daily struggles that we go through are quite similar and so sometimes when we talk we’ll just say, ‘This is our therapy session,’” said the then- intergovernmental affairs minister.

At the time, Ford explained how their shared counselling helped them both weather the storm.

“We’ll talk for God knows how long at nighttime, and discuss every issue you can possibly think of, and we laugh at the end,” the premier told the Star.

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“We just feel like a thousand pounds are off our shoulders,” he said in April.

“Chrystia is just tough as nails. The iron lady. I’m telling you, just a wonderful person. Has a big heart but she’s no nonsense as well.”

Robert Benzie
Robert Benzie is the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie

TORONTO STAR