GTA

Ford creates council on provincial-federal relations amid tensions with Ottawa

Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government is creating a new council that will work with the federal government to “deliver on key priorities for the province.”

Council members will include Premier Doug Ford and six of his top cabinet ministers, such as Minister of Health Christine Elliott, Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney and Minister of Finance Rod Phillips.

In a news release, the province said the council will focus on securing federal funding for major transit projects and health care initiatives.

“My ministers and I will work to ensure the interests of the people of Ontario are top of mind when we meet with the new federal government,” Ford said at a Thursday morning news conference.

The move comes after a contentious federal election that saw Prime Minister Justin Trudeau frequently mention Ford by name in targeted attacks on conservative policy proposals. Trudeau would often allude to Ford and his tumultuous first year in government multiple times during campaign events.

The two leaders are set to meet in person for the first time since the Oct. 21 vote on Friday.

Ministers on the new council would have learned of their federal counterparts yesterday, when Trudeau unveiled his new cabinet at a swearing-in ceremony on Parliament Hill.

Ford and his government are facing several big issues that will require federal co-operation to address. A host of proposed transit projects in Toronto, like the 15-kilometre Ontario Line, will need billions of federal dollars to get started, while the province needs an influx of funding for overcrowded hospitals.

Other members of the council include Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy, Infrastructure Minister Laurie Scott and Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli.

CBC

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