Doug Ford's government was called out by Justin Trudeau for how Ontario is handling the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Ontario has really struggled with this pandemic from a political level," Trudeau said at a virtual conversation with Ryerson University students and faculty on June 4. "Ontarians have stepped up, our health service providers have been unbelievable, our frontline workers have been heroes but the Ontario government has been somewhat uneven in its responses."
The prime minister noted that his job is to support provinces and territories and not judge them. Even though "the pressure is mounting" on Ford, Trudeau said, the PM isn't going to pick a fight with him.
Trudeau did take another shot at the premier later on in the conversation though. He brought up Ford's request to stop international students from coming to Ontario and said none of the other provinces with airports accepting international travellers have blamed travel as the reason for their COVID-19 cases.
"Maybe Ontario is different but I think there is an awful lot of politics being played there," Trudeau said. "I think it's unfortunate but I also know that a lot of people, particularly Ontarians, who have been watching closely to this premier will be able to see through that."
What is Justin Trudeau and Doug Ford's relationship like?
In August 2020, the pair were quite friendly and even showered each other with praise during a joint announcement. Trudeau called Ford a friend and the premier expressed his gratitude that the prime minister had offered help to Ontario.
"And you wonder why I'm always up here praising him? Because he did an incredible job as prime minister," Ford said at the time.
In November 2020, Narcity spoke with a body language expert to analyze their relationship. Blanca Cobb said that their posture, eye contact and hand positions show many signs of a fight for dominance. "They're being nice but there's still this push-pull," she said.
After Ford spoke out about wanting to stop international students from coming into Ontario in April 2021, Trudeau said it's unfortunate that the premier "continues to play politics" while the federal government wants to help the province.