‘Go somewhere else’: Ford says only ‘hard working’ immigrants welcome in Ontario

Premier Ford is facing backlash for making comments about immigrants that seem to imply some are not hard working and come to Ontari to "collect the dole and sit around."

By Dilshad Burman

Premier Doug Ford is facing backlash Monday for comments he made about immigrants in a press conference in Tecumseh, Ontario.

The comments came during an announcement that promised $9.8 million in funding for a new hospital in Windsor-Essex.

Speaking about a worker shortage in the trades, Ford said “we need people, we’re in such desperate need for people from around the world,” adding that the province is short “a couple 100,000 workers” and needs immigrants to fill the gap.

However, he had a warning for new immigrants that took many by surprise.

“I just have one criteria – you come here like every other new Canadian has come here, you work your tail off,” he said. “If you think you’re coming to collect the dole and sit around — not going to happen. Go somewhere else. You want to work, come here.” he said.

Ford added that he will be speaking to the Prime Minister about the labour shortage and said he will “aggressively” work with the federal government to “get more people to call Ontario home.”

Liberal leader Steven Del Duca called for an apology immediately.

“This kind of divisive language is deeply disappointing,” he said. “As a son of immigrants, I know first-hand how people like my parents helped to build Ontario. Doug Ford should apologize for his callous comments.”

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath also said in a tweet that Ford should apologize.

“Today, Doug Ford chose to traffic in demeaning stereotypes about new Ontarians looking to build a better life for their families,” she wrote. “Our diverse, welcoming province deserves better.”

When asked whether the province had any data to suggest immigrants are not hard working, a spokesperson for the premier said they did not have any such data and added that all new immigrants are welcome in Ontario.

Comments on Twitter lambasted the premier, calling his comments xenophobic, racist and hateful.

With a file from Cynthia Mulligan and The Canadian Press 

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