Many heads, once likely to be thrown back in dismay, are now bestowing nods of approval

No aspect of Canadian life has been left untouched by the COVID-19 pandemic, including politics, and pundits agree the premier of Ontario is one of those most transformed by the outbreak.

Doug Ford, a divisive player on the regional stage long before becoming an equally polarizing national figure, has been turning heads since it became clear that Canada would not be spared the spread of the novel coronavirus. But many of those heads, once likely to be thrown back in dismay, are now bestowing nods of approval.

Gone is the pugnacious partisanship and populist rhetoric that opponents once used to compare Ford to U.S. President Donald Trump. The premier’s regular briefings have instead drawn widespread plaudits for their calm, collegial tone as well as their comparatively progressive content.

Such an approach, political observers say, differs not only from that demonstrated by like-minded politicians south of the border but from his own past conduct.

“I’m a Liberal, but I’ll give Doug Ford a lot of credit — he’s handling this really well,” said Dan Molton, vice-president at Crestview Strategy and former senior staff member in the previous Liberal government. “He’s being transparent, responsive, engaging. Ontarians are really seeing him in action.”

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Michelle McQuigge – National Post – March 29, 2020.

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