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Doug Ford congratulates Olivia Chow days after saying she would be an 'unmitigated disaster'

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford congratulated Toronto’s mayor elect Olivia Chow Monday night, less than a week after publicly saying that if she was chosen to lead the city, it would be an “unmitigated disaster.”

In a statement issued moments after CP24 declared the race, the premier mentioned Chow’s dedication to the city.

“I want to congratulate Olivia Chow on tonight’s election win and on becoming the next mayor of Toronto,” he said.

“While we’re not always going to agree on everything, what we can agree on is our shared commitment to making Toronto a place where businesses, families, and workers can thrive.”

Ford goes on to say that he hopes to have a “willing partner” in Toronto, noting that he would work with anyone “ready to work with our government to better our city and province.”

The premier had made his choice for mayor clear throughout the election campaign in Mark Saunders. At first, Ford said he would stay out of the race, but as election day neared he quickly changed his tune. He urged residents to vote for someone who wouldn’t cut the police budget while placing a Saunders sign on his lawn, adding that a left-wing mayor would be a “disaster.”

At a news conference on June 21, Ford specifically attacked Chow, saying that if she was elected, it would be an “unmitigated disaster” and that businesses would flee the city.

“She makes David Miller look like a fiscal conservative, and businesses will start fleeing,” the premier added, speaking of the former mayor who ran the city from 2003 to 2010.

“God forbid Olivia Chow gets elected, your taxes are going up at an unprecedented rate.”

The weekend before the election, Ford also lent his voice to a robocall supporting Saunders.

"He's the only one that will keep our taxes low, create thousands of jobs, and keep our streets safe and represent the entire city," a message recorded by Ford said. "Please make sure you, your family and friends all go out and vote for Mark Saunders."

Speaking to her supporters after her win, Chow said that Ford as well as housing minister Steve Clark “graciously” called her Monday night.

“I know we both believe in the people of this city,” she said. “The people have sent a message today. They want to get things done, like building affordable housing and improving the TTC.”

“Well Mr. Premier we are ready. Let’s work together to get it done,” Chow added, using Ford’s signature campaign catch phrase.

Ford has always had a fixation on the City of Toronto. He was a city councillor while his brother was mayor.

Ford ran an unsuccessful bid for mayor himself in 2014, taking the torch from his brother Rob after he was diagnosed with cancer. Ford was defeated by John Tory, but still received more votes than Chow at the time.

As premier of Ontario, he slashed the size of Toronto’s city council, enacted his own subway expansion plan, blocked a favoured ranked ballot voting system and put in place strong mayoral powers.

This is in addition to his more recent move to redevelop Ontario Place and move the Ontario Science Centre to the waterfront.

CP24 declared Olivia Chow had won Toronto’s mayoral election at 9 p.m.

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