Premier slams ‘downtown insiders’ and ‘media party’ at Ford Fest
Chris Herhalt, CP24.com
Published Saturday, June 22, 2019 6:43AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, June 22, 2019 8:23PM EDT
Premier Doug Ford told a crowd at his annual Ford Fest on Saturday that his government moved swiftly in his first year and dismissed those criticizing him as “a select few” who lament the demise of “the gravy train.”
After a week that saw the premier get booed by a crowd of 100,000 during the Raptors championship celebration at Nathan Phillips Square, a major cabinet shuffle where he demoted his finance minister and then the departure of his chief of staff, Ford paused in his speech to bask in some applause, listing accomplishments such as his low-income tax cut and daycare tax credit, and criticized those who have given he and his government a hard time.
“We know that when they come at us, you are with us and that is all that matters,” Ford told a crowd he said numbered at 10,000. “Not the downtown insiders, not the media who criticizes us at every single step, I call them the media party.”
“You are the only ones who matter to us, you are the only ones who we answer to and that is the people of Ontario.”
Apart from the new tax credits, Ford listed the firing of the Hydro One “Six Million Dollar Man” CEO Mayo Schmidt and the removal of the cap-and-trade carbon scheme as some of his government’s biggest accomplishments.
He also took credit for Ontario’s robust job numbers.
“We have 190,000 more jobs today than we did one year ago. That’s 190,000 new paycheques, 190,000 new opportunities. We have so many new jobs in Ontario that businesses are having a hard time filling them right now.”
Saturday’s event was free and open to the public, but unlike previous years it required attendees to register for tickets and anyone could be denied entry.
The legislature rose on June 6 and will not return until after the federal election on Oct. 29.
Ford recently became the least popular premier in Confederation as public criticism increased after his first budget in April.
The spending plan increased overall spending in healthcare in education, but contained deep cuts to transfers to municipalities, the environment, housing and social services.
A teacher's union paid for a propeller plane to tow a banner over the event, saying "Public education cannot afford Ford."
The Ford government has increased class sizes and cut funding to school boards, prompting cutbacks and the loss of 3,400 teaching positions through attrition.