Doug Ford doubles down on comments about ‘hard working’ new Canadians

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Under criticism for “harsh” and “hurtful” comments about new Canadians, an unrepentant Premier Doug Ford insists he is “pro-immigration” and has no plans to apologise.

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Ford told the legislature on Tuesday that his phone is “blowing away” with messages from “new Canadian immigrants who came here, the first generation” sharing their success stories.

“I have been pro-immigration from day one. We are at least 290,000 people. Ours was the only government that wrote to the prime minister saying we needed more people,” said Premier.

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“You just have to come to a Ford Fest. You will see the support of people from all over the world who come there,” he said, referring to the free public picnics his family has hosted for many years.

“I’ll tell you how the Ford Nation was created: They came to this country, they couldn’t capture any NDP or Liberal leaders, but they grabbed the mayor of Toronto (the late Rob Ford) and the premier.” Ford said .

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“We show up at their door. We return their calls.”

But on Monday, the premier’s clumsy appeal for immigrants to come to Ontario backfired during a campaign-style halt near Windsor to ease labor shortages.

“Do you know what our biggest problem is right now? We need people,” Ford said.

“And so, guys, if you have some hardworking people, I have just one criterion: You come here like every new Canadian has come here. You wag your tail,” he said.

The premier then warned: “If you think you’re going to dole out and sit? Nothing’s gonna happen, go somewhere else. you want to work? Come here, we have a lot of work to do.”

NDP MPP Dolly Begum (Scarborough Southwest) described Ford’s comments as “harsh, discriminatory, dismissive and offensive to the thousands of immigrants who come to Ontario for a better future, many of whom have helped build the province.”

“Her words undermine the uphill battle that immigrants face when they come to this country, just as my family struggled to come here with the hope of a better life,” said Begum, whose family is from Bangladesh. had gone to Canada. Child.

“His words undermine the thousands of new Canadians who have helped Ontario over the past year and a half.”

Liberal leader Steven Del Duca, the son of a Scottish mother and an Italian father, said he was not surprised that Ford was “doubling down” and “showing a degree of obstinacy that is not conducive to modern leadership.”

“He should reconsider. He should do the right thing. I urge him to apologize. Apologizing when you make a mistake doesn’t show weakness, it actually shows strength,” del Duca said.

“It was incredibly hurtful to a lot of Ontarians. It reflects a very old notion of the value of immigrants.”

Green Leader Mike Schreiner, who was born in the United States and moved to Canada when he was 26, said he had “no idea what the premier was thinking.”

“I hope it wasn’t a dog whistle for some element of his premise,” Schreiner said.

“If the Premier really wants to attract more immigrants to Ontario, he will backtrack on yesterday’s comments[and]explicitly apologize to reinforce the message that Ontario is a welcoming place for immigrants.” “

Robert Benji Starr is Queens Park’s bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie
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