Trudeau trying to change channel with Ford criticism: McNaughton

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Ontario Premier Doug Ford in Montreal on Thursday, December 6, 2018. Paul Chiasson / The Canadian Press

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is trying to divert attention from his political troubles when he accuses the Ontario PCs of stalling major projects, provincial Infrastructure Minister Monte McNaughton says.

“We all know that the prime minister has his own issues in Ottawa,” McNaughton said Thursday.

“Things were moving along quite peacefully between both governments until things started to heat up in Ottawa and he obviously wanted to change the channel.”

While McNaughton didn’t name the source of Trudeau’s political turmoil, the federal Liberal government has been reeling from the fallout of the SNC-Lavalin scandal.

During an announcement in Kitchener on Tuesday, Trudeau said his government has a large amount of money ready to spend on important infrastructure like public transit, but remarked the Doug Ford government doesn’t want to partner with the federal Liberals.

“We’ve been highlighting this behind closed doors and privately to them that they really need to flow this money,” Trudeau said.

“I am now saying it very publicly that the provincial government in Ontario is letting down Ontarians. It is going to be missing this construction season if they don’t come to the table and show us what projects they want to partner on with us.”

McNaughton said he has a good relationship with the federal infrastructure minister, and officials from both governments were meeting Thursday afternoon.

The province has opened up a $1.6-billion stream for infrastructure projects in about 85 municipalities outside the GTA and $626 million for rural and northern communities to build roads and bridges, he said.

“It’s certainly true that Justin Trudeau’s worried about the election season,” McNaughton said.

“I’m worried about the construction season when it comes to infrastructure.”

aartuso@postmedia.com

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