In an exclusive one-on-one interview with CTV News Toronto, Ontario Premier Doug Ford sidestepped around questions regarding the cost to send taxpayer-paid communications staffers that produce “Ontario News Now” with him to New York for two days.

The Premier said he went to the Big Apple to meet with business leaders and boast about the investment opportunities in Ontario. The trip included a short appearance on American news channel Fox News Business.

Ford described the trip as one of the “most rewarding trips he has ever been on.”

“I think it was a positive, positive trip.”

Ford said that the trip was meant to encourage businesses, who he claimed were shying away from the province under the former Liberal government, to invest in Ontario.

“They told me, the last 15 years, they pulled investment out of Ontario and that’s scary,” he said.

John Fraser, the Interim Leader of the Liberal Party, said there was no truth to the Premier’s statement.

“Ontario has been in the top three for foreign direct investment for five years,” Fraser said.

According to provincial data, Ontario has attracted nearly $7 billion in foreign investment in 2017.

The Premier’s Office has yet to release the cost of the New York trip, including how much it cost for the government to bring “Ontario News Now,” a communication service run by the Progressive Conservative caucus staff, along to film and interview Ford.

The government is facing criticism over the decision to bring “Ontario News Now” to the United States while not inviting any Canadian media outlets to observe the visit.

“I make no apologies for getting the message out,” Ford told CTV News Toronto.

When pressed about how much taxpayers were paying for “Ontario News Now,” Ford responded by saying “it’s not as much as the millions of dollars, tens of millions, that they’re going to invest.”

With files from CTV News Toronto’s Queen Park Bureau Colin D’Mello