A furious Doug Ford ripped anti-lockdown protesters who showed up outside Queen’s Park on Saturday “a bunch of yahoos” who are putting the health and welfare of every Ontarian at risk.
The group was demonstrating against emergency measures enacted by the government in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic which has forced businesses to shut down and mandated that people stay home and practice social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus.
The protesters, which was estimated to be about 100 people, carried signs calling for Ford to reopen the Ontario economy and that self-isolating was against their freedom of choice.
Toronto Police say no one was ticketed at the protest because they were spaced out enough to comply with physical distancing requirments.
“We see these people who are absolutely irresponsible …it’s reckless to do what they’re doing,” said a visibly irate Ford.
“We have healthcare workers down the street at these hospitals working round the clock, to protect the community …that’s the reason we’re able to see a flattening of the curve. But then we have a bunch of yahoos out in the front of Queen’s Park sitting there protesting that the place isn’t open, and they are breaking the law. And putting everyone in jeopardy, putting themselves in jeopardy, putting workers in jeopardy and god forbid one of them ends up in the hospital down the street.”
Ford said he understands the frustration some people are feeling following the month-long shutdown but stressed we have to remain responsible when it comes to easing the restrictions in place.
“It’s irresponsible, reckless and it’s selfish. It just burns me up, we’ve worked so hard and we have a bunch of yahoos out there thinking its alright,” said Ford. “Imagine if every single Ontarian resident acted the way they’re doing right now. It would set us back months.”
Ford said while he can’t direct the police on what to do, he noted “they’re breaking the law” and he’s sure they will take care of it.
City of Toronto by-laws call for people to remain two-metres apart when they are in a park or public square. Those found violating the physical distancing measure face a fine of $1,000.