Michael Ford asked to rescind 'disturbing, offensive, and racist' comment about Toronto youth
Published Wednesday, March 22, 2023 10:46AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 22, 2023 10:46AM EDT
Ontario Minister for Citizenship and Multiculturalism and MPP for York - South Weston Michael Ford was called upon Wednesday to rescind a comment made about Toronto youth that some have called “disturbing, offensive, and racist.”
On Wednesday, NDP leader Marit Stiles took to social media to ask Ford, nephew of Ontario Premier Doug Ford, to rescind a recent comment made in a newsletter issued by his office.
The newsletter appears to be marketing Toronto community group Frontlines, a youth charity that offers support programs, mental health support, warm meals, and assistance with homework.
The text on the printout, allegedly written by Ford, reads, “organizations such as Frontlines are crucial to York-South Weston.”
“They have fantastic programs for Youth that will assist them in the future to integrate into society,” it continues, alongside a photo of what appears to be Ford greeting a young Black person.
Stiles took issue with the notion that youth in Toronto would need to learn to “integrate” into society.
“Words matter - and this kind of language about our neighbours isn't okay,” she said. “Making these comments as the Minister for Citizenship and Multiculturalism is especially hurtful.”
Stiles called on Ford to personally rescind the comments.
Shortly after Stiles made the comments, Ford responded on social media.
“I see that different words should have been used,” he began.
A rescission or apology was not offered, but Ford lauded the “incredible” work of Frontlines “to empower and elevate children and youth in York - South Weston.”
“My intention was to showcase their impactful work and the difference they make each and every day,” he concluded.
Stiles wasn’t alone in her outrage. MPP for Toronto - St. Pauls, Dr. Jill Andrew, and former MPP for York - South Weston, Faisal Hassan, also took aim at Ford for the comments.
“‘Integrate’ suggests these outstanding youth are not already invaluable members of society which they are,” Andrew wrote on Twitter. “What are you going to say next time Michael? ‘Assimilate?’”
Andrew did not call on Ford to rescind the comments, but did ask him to consider the impact of his words.
“Apparently [Michael Ford] thinks Frontlines helps youth integrate. What does he mean?” Hassan asked.
“Very disturbing, offensive and racist,” he wrote.
Ford, a member of the Ontario PC party, was elected to represent York-South Weston and appointed Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism in June 2022. Prior to that, he sat on Toronto City Council since 2016.