Premier Doug Ford Will Not Campaign for New Conservative Leader Main Focus is Ontario As Province Reports New COVID-19 Cases

Speaking to reporters at Queen’s Park on Monday Afternoon, Premier Doug Ford said he will not be campaigning for the new federal Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole, citing his main focus right now in Ontario.  

The Ontario Premier congratulated the newly-elected Conservative Party Leader, Erin O’Toole for securing the role and said that Mr. O’Toole ran a “hard-fought campaign”. 

Mr. O’Toole, an MP for Durham, was elected in the third ballot of the Conservative convention after picking up 57 percent of party support.

When asked by reporters if Premier Ford would be campaigning for Mr. O’Toole during the next federal election, the Ontario Premier said he would not be however encouraged “everyone to rally around him”.

It would not be the first time that the Ontario Premier had not gotten involved in the federal Conservative Party’s campaigning however as Premier Ford has said that he has not done so the last time. 

“I’m not getting involved in the federal campaign,” said Premier Ford. “I won’t be campaigning for anyone like I didn’t last time either.”

“I am so swamped right here. I’m going literally around the clock every single day and I can’t take my eye off the ball for an election or anything else. So, my main focus is Ontario” added the Ontario Premier. 

Premier Ford went on to say that he has a “phenomenal relationship” with Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as well as Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, and will work with whoever is elected regardless of their political stripe. 

“My main focus is to stay here in Ontario…. getting our economy back up and running, make sure everyone’s safe here and I’m too busy to get involved in any election. In the future, and I’m not going to either” said Premier Ford during the press conference.

“I wish everyone all the best and let the best person win.”

Ontario COVID-19 Updates: Province records more than 100 new COVID-19 cases for the fourth day 

On Monday, Ontario reported an additional 105 new cases of COVID-19, slightly less than the 115 cases that were reported on Sunday, however it continues the trend of the fourth day in a row with triple-digit increases in new cases. 

According to Health Minister Christine Elliott, the 0.3 percent increase in total cases from Sunday came as the province’s network of labs processed under 18,800 COVID-19 tests on Sunday. 

During the province’s daily news conference, Premier Ford mentioned that his government continues to monitor the situation saying “I’m watching it like a hawk”. 

Also, during the press conference, Premier Ford noted that 75 of the new cases reported on Monday morning are limited to three regions: Ottawa, Peel and the Toronto regions. 

If you take those three away, said Premier Ford, “the province and the people are doing great,” with thirty of the province’s 34 health units reporting five or fewer cases of the illness in today’s update.

To date, the province’s total lab-confirmed count of COVID-19 cases sits at 41,507 cases of which there are as many as 37,673 recoveries. 

With 18,790 COVID-19 tests completed for today, Ontario has completed 2,781,748 million tests for the virus so far. Currently, 9,229 tests are under investigation and awaiting test results. 

Are Young People “More Casual” About Distancing?

With the trend of triple-digit increases in new cases, Ontario’s top doctor is expressing concerns that younger people are starting to get “more casual” about public health rules and this could result in increases in new cases. 

Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical officer of Health, said the overall picture remains “reassuring” despite the return to new case numbers in the low triple digits. 

However, Dr. David Williams said that he is concerned about how the return to post-secondary institutions will affect how young people feel about physical distancing and public health rules. 

“We’re trying to look at different strategies” to communicate with young people, Dr. Williams said.” We want to be targeting our message very carefully.” 

Dr. Williams also noted that the absolute number of young people contracting COVID-19 hasn’t changed significantly over the pandemic, but said that as cases in other age groups have decreased, the proportion of those infections have gone up.

Concerns about In-class time for High School Students

At Monday’s news conference, Premier Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce also fielded questions about the preparations for back to school, including the push to get high school students into physical classrooms for at least half of their learning day. 

Education Minister Stephen Lecce told reporters that the province has spent “hundreds of hours” working with school boards to help them get there. 

In the case of the York Region District School Board, the Education Minister said the target of 50 percent in-class instruction has been hit, an “improvement” from that board’s previous plan, which saw the percentage of in-class instruction closer to 25 percent.

When pressed, however, Mr. Lecce said that that improvement includes using a “study hall model,” in which students are in schools but voluntarily work on assignments independently.

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