'Doug Ford is the worst premier in Ontario history': Opposition, COVID-19 medical experts blast province's leader after whirlwind of restrictions, retractions

Elisabetta Bianchini
·5-min read

It was a whirlwind weekend for Doug Ford after an announcement of controversial new COVID-19 lockdown measures led to a rollback of several aspects of the announcement less than 24 hours later.

On Monday Ontario's Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott, said that limiting mobility was the guiding principle for last week's announcement.

"The changes we made were based on the medical advice that we received from Dr. [David] Williams and the public heath measures table...and we were advised that we need to limit mobility to stop the transmission of the COVID variants in Ontario," Elliott said. 

Late Friday afternoon, Ford announced the Ontario government is extending the province-wide the stay-at-home order for an additional two weeks, six weeks in total. A set of new rules announced included limiting outdoor gatherings to only ones household, the closure of all outdoor recreational amenities (golf courses, basketball courts, soccer fields and playgrounds), and police and other provincial offences officers were given the authority to require any individual to provide their home address and purpose for not being at their residence, including stopping people in vehicles.

Medical professionals and other Ontarians started to slam the Ford government, specifically raising concerns about random police stops, carding, and questioning why the provincial government is still not including any paid sick leave support for essential workers.

On Saturday, it was revealed that the Ontario government would in fact allow playgrounds to be open and changed the language about policing powers, stating that if a police or other provincial offences officer "suspects that you are participating in an organized public even or social gathering, they may require you to provide information to ensure you are complying with restrictions."

"We have heard from people that they're very concerned about children being and to go out and get some fresh air and exercise, and so the playgrounds remained open, they will, of course, stay open," Elliott said on Monday.

"As far as the police requirements that were made, again, that's really meant to stop large groups of people being together in parks and other places. That's why some of the issues with respect to stopping people in cars and so on was taken back because it's really aimed at large gatherings of people and making sure that people continue to follow public health measures."

Elliott added that the provincial government recognizes that the policing rules announced Friday were not "interpreted" the way they were intended.

"Carding was never our intention," she said. 

"What our intention was to reduce the mobility of people so that people would understand the very difficult state that we're in right now in the province of Ontario because of the variants moving like lightning through our communities. However, we did realize that police stopping vehicles was not the way to deal with it, it's more important for police to be able to break up large gatherings if people are not following public health measures."

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On Monday, Ontario's progressive conservative government shut down motions presented by the provincial NDP that would introduce paid sick leave, paid time off to get a COVID-19 vaccine and shut down non-essential workplaces.

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Ontario Liberal party leader Steven Del Duca has called for Ford to resign, issuing a statement on Monday that reads:

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"Doug Ford is the worst Premier in Ontario history at a time when leadership matters the most. He should resign now before he makes things any worse. If he does, I will be the first to commend him, because it takes real guts to get out of the way when he’s screwed up this badly. But he won’t. Because he only cares about himself and his special friends."

Ford continues to get criticism from Ontarians, including medical experts, pushing for more supports for essential workers.

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