Nearly a week since he was last seen in public, Premier Doug Ford staged a news conference in his Etobicoke back yard. Ford started by apologizing for the chaos that was created last weekend when the government closed down playgrounds and gave police sweeping powers to stop and question people. The result was a public uproar and a mass revolt by municipal police services who said they would not be doing random checkers.
It was a subdued Ford who met virtually with reporters today, to announce that his government is working on a paid sick day program that will fill in some of the gaps in the Federal program that resulted in few Canadian taking advantage of it.
With regard to the backlash against last Fridays; lockdown measures Ford apologized saying. “I know that many people continue to be unhappy right now, and I understand and I accept the responsibility for that.” The Premier became emotional as he worked his way through his prepared remarks.
The Queen’s Park Press Gallery, perhaps experiencing some pent-up frustration after six days of not being able to question the Premier directly, at times sounded like an Andrea Horwath-led Question Period as they lobbed some hardball, questions at Ford.
In fairness to Ford, in the 13 months that Ford has been holding these almost daily questions, he has demonstrated that he can take tough questions without rising to the bait. The only time he shot back was in answer to a question about him ignoring the science table, He said, “I have often said jokingly, that if you ask ten doctors, you will get eleven opinions.”
Meanwhile in the Legislature, NDP leader Andrea Horwath was working herself into a frenzy of outrage, castigating The government for invoking the police powers, (now cancelled); and the closure of playgrounds, (now re-opened), and “not listening” to the science table.