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Ford praises former rival Wynne, accuses NDP of 'disrespecting' her during tribute

Last Updated Oct 20, 2020 at 3:49 pm EST

Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford, left, and Ontario Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne shake hands after taking part in the second of three leaders' debate in Parry Sound, Ont., on Friday, May 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

During their acrimonious days as political rivals, Kathleen Wynne once called Doug Ford “a bully,” likening him to Donald Trump. Ford was equally venomous when it came to Wynne.

How times have changed.

On Tuesday, after learning that Wynne would not seek re-election in the 2022 provincial election, a fawning Ford offered a gracious tribute to Wynne in the legislature.

“I respect your service,” Ford told Wynne at Queen’s Park Tuesday. “I respect the years that you’ve spent serving your constituents. So thank you, God bless you.”

Watch: Doug Ford pays tribute to Kathleen Wynne

Wynne later thanked Ford for his kind words.

“It was very generous of the premier to make those comments,” she said. “I think that when all is said and done as a politician you do the best you can for your constituents and the province, and I think the premier understands that…”

Ford heaped further praise on Wynne, who served as premier from 2013 to 2018, during an afternoon conference.

“I differentiate between politics and the person,” Ford said. “Kathleen Wynne is a very nice person.”

“She’s a trailblazer and the fact that she was the first female premier, which is incredible. First gay premier, and I congratulate her, incredible again.”

Ford was then asked about what sounded like heckling from the NDP while he was honouring Wynne’s political career in the legislature.

The former “bully” was suddenly playing the role of defender.

“It was totally inappropriate,” he scoffed. “When you acknowledge someone, no matter what political stripe they come from, you respect that.”

“While I was acknowledging the former premier the NDP were heckling and shouting.”