Ontario premier vows to 'take care of the farmers,' dines at Trump Hotel

Published Sept. 19, 2018 8:54 p.m. ET
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Ontario Premier Doug Ford says that if the federal government is forced to open up Canada’s protected dairy sector to get a new trade deal with the U.S., he will make sure that the industry is “taken care of.”

“We’ll sit down with the prime minister and with (Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia) Freeland and make sure that the farmers, the dairy industry is taken care of,” Ford told CTV’s Richard Madan during an interview in Washington, D.C.

“We’re going to make sure, one way or another, we’re taking care of the farmers in Ontario,” Ford added.

Earlier on Wednesday, Ford was briefed by Minister Freeland after she had a late-night round of negotiations on a replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement, which U.S. President Donald Trump opposes.

Premier Ford, a Progressive Conservative, said that he’s putting aside partisanship in the interest of Canada and that the federal government is doing the same.

“They’re working hard for the people of Ontario, as they are for the people of Quebec and out east and out west,” he said. “It’s a tough job and I’m behind them. I support them.”

“I understand maybe the president may have issues with China,” Ford added. “There shouldn’t be any issues with Canada. And we’ll get through this, I’m pretty confident.”

Lunch at Trump International Hotel

After meeting with Freeland, Ford lunched at the Trump International Hotel with U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft and Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. David MacNaghton.

Ford said it was Craft who chose to patronize the president’s hotel, and that it would have been rude to complain about the sometimes controversial venue.

“When someone is gracious enough to invite you to lunch (as) Ambassador Craft did ... you don’t question where you go,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a Trump hotel,” he added. “She could have asked me to go to McDonald’s, I would have showed up at McDonald’s.”

In what may outrage Canadian liberals, Ontario’s Conservative Premier, Doug Ford, lunched today ... at the Trump Hotel pic.twitter.com/MEDCZAWLKP

— Richard Madan (@RichardMadan) September 19, 2018

With a report from CTV’s Richard Madan in Washington, D.C.

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