Doug Ford helps stranded drivers in Etobicoke, catches ire of some online

Ontario's premier ditched the suit to help dig out commuters stuck in the show Monday morning. Doug Ford said it's the 'Ontario spirit' to help out during a time of need.

By Dilshad Burman

As Toronto reeled under one of the largest snow dumps it has seen in several years, Ontario Premier Doug Ford was witnessed driving around Etobicoke streets on an apparent mission of mercy.

In a video released by the Premier’s office, Ford is seen shovelling a car out of the snow.

In another video posted on social media, the premier is seen giving a stranded driver a ride home.

“I’m the taxi driver today and the snowplow and everything else,” said Ford in the video.

Ford also called into a live TV news show while driving on snow-covered streets to talk about his rescue rides.

While many praised the premier for his hands-on approach to helping Ontarians, others were skeptical, calling it an elaborate public relations stunt — given that some of the photos and video came from his own office.

Ford told CityNews he was “just showing the Ontario spirit.”

“You got to just help … everyone pulls over and helps out,” he said. “That just shows what a great community we live in and everyone’s helping out.”

Others on social media also pointed out that he was not wearing a mask, even when inside his vehicle with another person. Some also questioned the safety of conducting a video call while driving on treacherous roads.

The City of Toronto declared a “major storm condition” Monday as the city saw up to five centimetres of snow an hour at the peak of the blizzard.

The declaration means the city will begin snow removal once plowing is completed, which is different from snow clearing. It involves the removal of the snowbanks left by plowing.

City of Toronto spokesperson Bradd Ross explained in a tweet that the city will collect and remove the snow to designated snow storage sites.

While the declaration is in place, parking on roads that are designated as snow routes is prohibited for 72 hours.

“The declaration may be cancelled sooner than 72 hours or extended longer, depending on how much snow needs to be removed. The City anticipates this likely will be extended,” said Ross on Twitter.

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