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Ford stresses national unity after meeting with Trudeau in Ottawa

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Premier of Ontario Doug Ford share a laugh after Ford spoke in French during a meeting in Ottawa on Nov. 22, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Doug Ford and Justin Trudeau sat down in Ottawa on Friday to take about their shared interests

Ford said he knows voters expect him to work with Trudeau, and he's ready to do it

TORONTO (NEWS 1130) – Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may be looking to end their political feud as the two sat down for a one-on-one meeting in Ottawa on Friday.

It’s the latest in a series of meetings the prime minister is holding with premiers from across the country before he brings back Parliament on Dec. 5.

Now that the dust has settled from the election, Ford is talking about cooperating with the federal government, despite the fact that Trudeau spent much of the campaign slamming Ford and his Conservative government.

Ford also spent months bashing the Trudeau Liberals and the federal carbon tax before going silent for the election.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Ford said Trudeau’s remarks didn’t bother him.

“It’s never personal, politics is politics and I have a pretty thick skin. I understand what he was doing,” he said.

And the next day, with a handshake and smiles, the two leaders sat down in the prime minister’s office, with Ford saying he wants to put their disagreements behind them.

The premier said he is very aware that some of the people who voted for him also voted for the prime minister. Those voters, he said, expect the two to find a way, despite their political differences.

“People expect us to work together, and we’re going to roll up our sleeves and work together and make sure we get Ontario moving,” Ford said.

Both emphasized they’re going to be focusing on shared priorities, including, Trudeau said: “Broadband access across the province, or talking about how we can improve health care for Canadians.”

But the leaders may be leaning on each other to advance their own agendas. Ford is looking for federal funding to pay for major infrastructure projects, like subway lines, while Trudeau wants provincial help pushing his plan for national pharmacare.

That could make them a pair of unlikely allies.

At the end of Friday’s remarks, Ford said “Merci beacoup” and noted he is learning French, asking Trudeau if he knew any good French teachers. Trudeau noted he was once one himself but is a little busy these days.

With files from the Canadian Press