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22 Apr, 2021 15:58

Ontario Premier Doug Ford gives teary apology for Covid clampdown, but critics aren’t buying it

Ontario Premier Doug Ford gives teary apology for Covid clampdown, but critics aren’t buying it

Ontario Premier Doug Ford broke down and issued a tearful apology after his province implemented, then relaxed, the strictest coronavirus restrictions in North America. His critics weren’t appeased.

The Canadian province of Ontario has had the longest lockdown of any North American territory, with little to show for its efforts except business closures and a spike in suicides and depression. Nevertheless, Ford’s government ratcheted up the restrictions last week, sealing off Ontario’s borders to non-essential travellers, extending a stay-at-home order to six weeks, closing playgrounds, and empowering police to enforce the draconian crackdown.

Also on rt.com Canada's Ontario to set up Covid-19 checkpoints at borders with Quebec & Manitoba provinces to turn away ‘non-essential travelers’

After a massive public backlash, in which Ontario’s scientific advisers disavowed some of Ford’s decisions, the provincial government reversed course almost immediately, dropping the new police powers and reopening playgrounds. Ford himself addressed the public on Thursday, and apologized for the overreach.

"Simply put, we got it wrong. We made a mistake. These decisions, they left a lot of people really concerned," Ford said. "For that I am sorry, and I sincerely apologize."

Ford then broke down into tears. "I understand your frustration," he said, addressing struggling business owners and citizens unable to visit dying relatives in hospital. "This experience, this pandemic, it's something that has affected every single person."

The premier’s apology came amid a public outcry, as even US newspapers were publishing op-eds calling for his resignation. As such, it didn’t win his critics over. 

“Doug Ford has no idea what he's doing, he has no interest in learning, he can fake contrition for about thirty seconds and then goes right back to blustery self-defense,” one Toronto writer declared. “Nothing is going to change until he's out of office, and people will keep getting sick and dying.”

Aside from the severity of Ontario’s lockdown, Ford is also facing criticism for his reluctance to implement a provincial paid sick-days program, and for allowing hospitals to become overcrowded and vaccine deliveries delayed.

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