Premier Doug Ford shot down suggestions that the letter written on the weekend by Burlington MPP Jane McKenna and Milton MPP Parm Gill indicated signs of disunity in the back benches. The letter the two signed asked the Province’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Williams to take a targeted approach to any COVID restrictions for Halton rather than a blanket lockdown. The Premier told reporters that he urged his MPPs and Oakville Mayor Rob Burton to write the letters. The Premier said it all started with a phone call from Mayor Burton who argued against a return to a modified stage two lockdown for Halton. He said he urged Burton to write a letter and that he gave similar advice to McKenna. The Premier seemed to be suggesting that Halton’s Medical Officer of Health was in favour of restrictions.
One reporter asked the Premier how he could square previous statements that he would always follow the advice of the health experts, but in the case of Halton it looked like local politicians could overrule that advice. Ford replied that local politicians have always had a say, and that in the case of the lockdowns in Toronto, Peel, Ottawa and York he had the approval of local mayors and chairs.
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The premier said he wished people could hear the discussion that take place every day about the current COVID situation because he is always fighting for the small businesses. “I know what it is like to try to meet a payroll. “We’re going right down the middle of the road (between health measures and keeping the economy open) you have to have a happy balance, and it’s not easy,” he said. “Can I justify if a region is reaching super high (COVID) numbers, be it Toronto or be it Peel? No I can’t justify it. Can I fight all day long for Halton and other regions that are on the brink and cheering them on and really pushing back at the health table, I do it all the time.”