Published On: Mon, Aug 26th, 2019

Trudeau crisis: How Canada PM relies on ‘disastrous’ Doug Ford to stay in power | World | News

Mr Trudeau has seen his Liberal Party’s lead plummet since being accused of obstructing a criminal trial in April. His leadership has been criticised as ‘too weak’ by opponents, while environmentalists have called out his hypocritical stance on the expansion of oil pipelines in British Columbia. The most recent poll released on Friday, conducted by Ekos, suggested the Conservatives had a one-point lead over the Liberal Party – but less than a year ago, Mr Trudeau was enjoying double figure polling leads.

However, the Liberals still have a chance to dominate parliament following October’s crucial federal election.

To do this, they may have to rely on the ‘Ford Factor’, according to one analyst.

Doug Ford, the controversial Ontario Premier who was elected in 2018, is a divisive character among Canadian voters.

Recent polling figures from Leger suggest that the Conservatives, despite being well ahead in their traditional voter base territories, are struggling to make way in Ontario – a crucial electoral province.

Justin Trudeau is at the G7

Justin Trudeau is at the G7 (Image: GETTY)

Doug Ford: a disaster?

Doug Ford: a disaster? (Image: GETTY)

Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque said the Tories may be suffering a “spillover effect” from Doug Ford’s time in office.

The Liberals enjoy 38 percent of support in Ontario compared to the Conservative’s 30 percent.

Doug Ford’s time in office has been embroiled in public outrage over austerity cuts and unpopular policy changes.

CBC analyst Vassy Kapelos suggested that the Liberal Party could wrestle full control of Ontario – and swing voters in all the provinces – by targeting Mr Ford’s record.

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Doug Ford is unpopular in Ontario

Doug Ford is unpopular in Ontario (Image: GETTY)

She wrote: “Federal Conservatives knew all this before the rest of us, of course.

“Their candidates in the 905 area surrounding Toronto heard it at the door. It was a high-ranking Conservative who first told me in early May that ‘this guy [Ford] could sink us.'”

“And though it’s the federal Liberals who have seized on the Ford factor most openly — taking every opportunity to identify their primary opponent as Ford, not Andrew Scheer — Conservatives seem to be disseminating that message just as much as their rivals, if not more.

“They’re just doing it very quietly.

“For every high-profile Liberal saying things like ‘the Ford government and Conservatives like them,’ there seems to be a federal Conservative telling people privately that if the party does lose the election, it will be due to Doug Ford.

“‘He’s our Achilles heel,’ an MP told me just last week.”

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Justin Trudeau is slipping in the polls

Justin Trudeau is slipping in the polls (Image: GETTY)

Justin Trudeau is at the G7 - post Brexit trade deal in the works?

Justin Trudeau is at the G7 – post Brexit trade deal in the works? (Image: GETTY)

In a province where Mr Trudeau won 44 per cent of the vote in the 2015 elections, the Tories were starting to make inroads – but have regressed since the election of Mr Ford.

A third of all the seats in the House of Commons are in Ontario, making it one of the most important provinces to win in October.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer hasn’t always seen eye to eye with the Ontario Premier and has avoided shining the spotlight on his colleague’s record.

Ms Kapelos added: “The Liberals’ push to handcuff the federal Conservatives to their provincial cousins in voters’ minds is bearing fruit, at least according to the public opinion polls.

“As I’ve said before, I don’t know if the “Ford factor” will be a deciding factor in October.

Justin Trudeau's patchy relationship with Donald Trump

Justin Trudeau’s patchy relationship with Donald Trump (Image: EXPRESS)

“A lot can happen between now and then. But the Ford government presents a political narrative that could move votes.

“The suggestion that Scheer, if elected, would cut services and programs you and your family depend on is one the Liberals will work hard to hammer home. So they’ll keep talking about Ford as long as they can.”

A poll in May suggested that Mr Ford was now less popular than former Liberal Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, whose own support plummeted towards the end of her tenure.

Mr Trudeau lashed out at the Conservatives last month, and referred directly to Doug Ford as a ‘spectre’ for voters this October.

Justin Trudeau with Emmanuel Macron

Justin Trudeau with Emmanuel Macron (Image: GETTY)

He said: “Conservative politicians love to say they’re ‘for the people,’ but we all know what happens when they’re in office.

“We’ve seen repeatedly just how far they’re willing to go to help the wealthiest few, how quickly they’ll make cuts.

“The middle class can’t afford another Doug Ford.”

Mr Trudeau will hope that Mr Ford’s unpopularity will help prop up his government for a second term despite several scandals that have dented Liberal support.

In addition to being on the end of an environmental backlash over the approval of an oil pipeline expansion last month, the Prime Minister was also weakened in April by the SNC-Lavalin affair.

April saw two highly-esteemed Cabinet ministers – Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott – quit after the Prime Minister allegedly tried to intervene in the criminal trial of the Quebec engineering firm.

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