Doug Ford knows that being premier of Ontario means at times facing the wrath of his detractors. And he’s fine with that — as long as it happens at Queen’s Park.
But he’s drawing a line in the sand when it comes to disrupting the lives of his neighbours and their children.
Ford took time during an announcement Monday on the streamlining of government services to plead with protesters to stop showing up at his house every weekend, saying they are impacting the quality of life of his neighbours and scaring their young children.
Ford said large groups of protesters are at his house “every Saturday morning” complete with loudspeakers that rattle the already-frayed nerves of his neighbours.
“This is not about me,” he stressed. “I’ve got the best neighbours in the entire world … my street is packed with little kids and when protesters show up at 10 a.m. every Saturday, the kids don’t go out and play. And they are always on the street playing road hockey.”
“My neighbours are frustrated,” he admitted. “They didn’t sign up for this. I signed up for it. I signed up to be the premier. God bless ‘em, they want to protest, just come down to Queen’s Park. Don’t scare the kids — because you are scaring them, you’re intimidating them.”
Ford said in one instance a protester threw what appeared to be blood on his street, prompting police and fire crews to show up.
“One of the protesters a couple of weeks ago threw blood on the street, it could be fake blood, we had to call the fire department to clean it off the road. It’s resources of the Toronto police, the OPP, it’s so unnecessary.
“You want to protest me? God bless you, I’m all for it, freedom of speech, come down here (Queen’s Park) protest, do whatever you want, but please leave my neighbours and their kids alone, please.”
Ford, like his late brother Rob, is known to share his phone number with the public. But he stressed that he’s being inundated with messages.
“I’m one of the few elected officials in the country — everyone seems to have my phone number. To the folks that message me — I’m getting hundreds and hundreds a day and I just can’t return them all. I apologize for that.”
Ford said some people are abusing his number, texting him dozens of times a day over trivial matters.
“I can’t help people when I’m getting 15 messages (a day from one person). If it’s an emergency I will get back to you, I just may need a day or two.
“The more people that message me over meaningless stuff (the more) I can’t handle the people that need my help.”