A sunny day in Toronto has led to the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford questioning the morality and intelligence of a group of protestors gathered outside the legislature at Queen’s Park in Toronto to voice their opinions against COVID-19 measures on Saturday afternoon.
Ford was asked about the group, and said he was appalled at the group for disobeying physical distancing measures and putting the wellbeing of others at risk.
“We have a bunch of yahoos out in front of Queen’s Park sitting there protesting, but the place isn’t open. They’re breaking the law and putting everybody in jeopardy,” Ford said
An anti-lockdown protest has formed outside the #Ontario legislature.— Brandon Gonez (@brandongonez) April 25, 2020
Many people chanting that #Covid19 is not real
1 man’s sign: ”I want a haircut”
At 1 point, they started singing the national anthem
Currently 44,364 Canadians have tested + for the virus & 2,350 have died pic.twitter.com/pJelE7dObu
The group of protestors were shouting out “fear is the virus” and “the virus is hoax” while carrying placards reading “Open Toronto” and “Save Small Businesses! We R all essential.” The most popular sign was a #COVEXIT sign, which is likely referring to a COVID exit.
“There’s nobody who wants to open up the economy more than I do and everyone else, but we have to do it responsibly, with the guidance of our Chief Medical Officer of Health and consultation with municipalities,” said Ford.
Here’s the clip: premier @fordnation fired up after he is asked about people protesting #COVID19 measures outside Queen’s Park: “a bunch of yahoos putting everyone in jeopardy... we’re better than this” he says “it’s irresponsible, reckless, selfish” and setting us back. pic.twitter.com/4wqv792L4k— Tina Yazdani (@TinaYazdani) April 25, 2020
Ontario health officials reported 476 new COVID-19 infections and 48 new deaths, bringing the total death toll to 811 and the overall case count including recoveries to 13,995.
Much of the support online has been in favour of Ford’s emphatic response to the protestors, with some on the opposite side of the isle politically siding with his wording.
I'm proud to see the leadership that Doug Ford is showing in how he is handling the #covid19 crisis the province, country and world is facing. Taking a stand and calling out those #yahoos at Queen's Park is exactly what this province needs! @fordnation #ONPoli— Todd Hamblin (@Hambone9) April 25, 2020
Really disappointed at the amount of folks at Queen's Park in Toronto protesting the shutdown. Stop being so selfish. You're not just putting yourself at risk, you're risking everyone else and the stability of our healthcare system. Smarten up folks. #onpoli #COVID19— Alfred Lam (@AlfredLam) April 25, 2020
Ford was visibly heated at the fact the group had gathered together, especially while tens of millions of Ontarians sit idly in their homes awaiting recommendations.
“We have these people who want to break ranks with the 14.5 million people and just go rogue? Again, it’s irresponsible, reckless and it’s selfish,” said Premier Doug Ford. “It just burns me up, we worked so hard and we have a bunch of yahoos thinking it’s alright,” he said.
The protests come after protests led by far-right wing personalities caused intersections in Vancouver to shut down. The problem was even more pronounced in the U.S. where protests against government measures took place in over a dozen states, as some armed protestors faced off with healthcare workers.
Are these “yahoos” Americans posing as Canadians in Queen’s Park?— Mark Mendoza (@mmen_d0za) April 25, 2020
The protests are a black eye on an otherwise very good performance from Ontarians since the start of the pandemic, who have largely followed physical distancing laws.
“We’re better than this as a people, as a province, we proved it then you have these people that want to protest? Hey, I understand people want to get out there, but we have to be responsible,” he said.
With well over a month of pandemic done with, Ford wants Ontarians to keep looking out for each other by flattening the curve and staying at home.
“We’ve come such a long way that we have to protect the health and wellbeing of every single person in this province,” said Ford.