Doug Ford’s campaign defends ‘take care of our own’ comment on immigration

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TORONTO — Facing criticism for suggesting Ontario has to “take care of our own” before pushing for immigrants to move to northern Ontario, Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford repeatedly refused to explain his comments, instead saying he is supportive of new Canadians and immigration.

At a news conference Saturday, Ford was asked four times to explain what he meant by the remarks, but would not elaborate. Instead, he slammed his opponents for seizing upon the remarks he made at the northern issues leader’s debate Friday.

“My opponents are playing politics — you know that,” Ford said. “There’s no politician that probably has more support out there for new Canadians. Ford Nation’s full of new Canadians.”

Ford said that if he’s elected June 7, his government will create more spaces for apprenticeships and break down barriers that keep credentials held by new immigrants from being recognized.

“We take care of new Canadians,” Ford said. “We take care of immigrants coming to this country. They call me personally on my phone. If you they have credentials from other countries, we will make sure that we do everything in our power … to recognize those credentials and speed up the process.”

In a statement early Saturday, Ford’s campaign spokeswoman Melissa Lantsman said the Tory leader’s comments at the debate are being mischaracterized by his political opponents.

“Doug Ford is completely supportive of new Canadians and immigration policies that welcome immigrants,” she said. “Ford Nation is a diverse group of supporters, including strong support in immigrant communities.”

During Friday’s northern debate, Ford said the government would have to exhaust every option for employing locals before relying on immigrants to fill jobs in sparsely populated areas.

Lantsman said Ford is open to the northern Ontario immigration program, but believes that people in the north have felt “left behind.”

“We need immediate policies to help those currently living in these communities,” she said.

Premier Kathleen Wynne said Ford would have to explain exactly what he meant by the comment, which she said was “very disturbing.”

Both Wynne and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said they would consider an immigration pilot project to combat population decline and draw workers to the northern reaches of the province, similar to one already in place in Atlantic Canada.

Wynne said that in a country where everyone except Indigenous people are immigrants, she doesn’t know who Ford considers “our own.”

Meantime, Horwath called Ford’s comments on immigration “worrisome” not only for herself, but for the northern municipal leaders who hosted the debate.

“I have to say I was a little bit shocked,” she said Saturday. “I’ve heard that language used by people who are suggesting that newcomers are not welcome in the province or in our country, and that’s not an opinion that I share.”

She added that Ford’s response showed he did not understand what the municipal leaders were saying with their question on facilitating immigration to the region.

“They want more newcomers in their communities, they want to ensure the local economy has more skilled workers and more population,” she said.

“While the municipal leaders were basically saying, ‘Let’s find the way to roll out the red carpet and welcome newcomers in,’ Mr. Ford’s comments seemed to be completely opposite of what they were asking for.”

Michael Coteau, a Liberal MPP for a Toronto riding, called on Ford to address the comments on Saturday morning.

“I found PC Leader Doug Ford’s comments on immigrants insulting,” he said. “As an immigrant myself, I took it personal, but also as a resident of this great city that’s been built on a strong immigrant past. Our economy continues to be built on immigration. I find he doesn’t really understand what makes this country great.”

Meanwhile, Ford pledged Saturday $98 million a year to provide free dental care to seniors making less than $19,300 a year if his party is elected next month. Older couples making less than $32,300 a year would also qualify.

Ford said the plan will help approximately 100,000 seniors a year.

“Many Ontarians have dental insurance, but two thirds of low income seniors cannot afford it,” he said. “They end up in (the) ER due to unbearable dental pain. More suffering for seniors and more strain on our health-care system.”

33 COMMENTS

  1. I think the key points here is that us, as Canadians, are in trouble. Look back 20-30 years ago. Smokes were cheap, gas was HALF of what it is now, things were affordable on a one parent income. We are being taxed to the point of poverty, hence the need for a pilot program to offset the cost of living expenses. I will not be voting liberal this year, granted they have done things that are what I consider needed to be changed and corrected (decriminalization of cannabis, increased worker protection, LBGT etc rights) , but they have also done things that are questionable and downright dumb (a big floating yellow duck for one, unrestricted immigration for two). Now that their job is almost complete (waiting on that decriminalization still), it is time for them to take a step back and get in touch with their constituents, see what Canadians REALLY need. We do not need this sudden strain on our financial infrastructure through unrestricted immigration.

  2. The Cons sure need a lesson on how to pick a leader. We have had Brown…Hudak and now trump like Ford. The Liberals have had their share of poor pics as well…McGuilty…Wynne. The NDP seem stuck for life with Horwath(time for a change there). Watch for Ford to make several big mistakes in the next week or so and give the Liberals a fighting chance again…yikes !!!

    • “Canada has not been founded by illegals.” Go out to Rankin and tell the native canadians that Josh lol. They were not travelers, it was colonization. Canada is a multicultural country and has been for a very long time. Doug is such an idiot. All he is doing is lying and people are buying it up. He is not a populist looking out for the middle guy, he is riding the coat tails of people being fed up with Wynne to power. Conservatives care about the rich only, always have always will. You can tell the stupidity in the states is bleeding into Canada now. I am voting for which ever party has the best chances of beating him. He doesn’t even have a platform. So he can keep telling you whatever you want to hear.

    • maybe he will plan on setting up a snitch line so you can report your neighbors for un-Canadian like behavior. Oh, and there is a big difference between illegals and legal immigrants, the question was about legal immigration to Northern Ontario.

    • Why argue over something so dumb, you seriously want illegals here in Canada, where you don’t know if they’re killers, rapists, pedophiles??

    • Ryan Boissineau you are ok with the government wasting trillions of dollars on everyone else but Canadians? Have even read one thing about politics in the last 15 years? It’s funny how you say Canada was founded by illegals. Because only native people own Canada? I’m sorry your ancestors did not understand business. Yet here you are today saying it is ok to bring in more immigrants to flood what you call is your land and was stolen from you by “illegal immigrants?” How does it benefit you? More tax payers to line your pocket? The ndp and liberals are making it impossible for Canadians to have a family. But it’s ok to give our money to refugees and immigrants? Your head is not screwed on straight. Good luck bud

    • Debbie Humes your right he did not say exactly “illegals. ” but if you can understand English, that is exactly his thoughts. Allowing only those qualified and not every single one like the ndp and liberals want. Ndp and liberals DO NOT CARE ABOUT CANADIANS. THEY WANT TO TAX EVERY THING YOU DO AND GIVE YOUR TAX DOLLARS TO EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT PAY TAXES. I’m sorry, how much do you make that it is ok for the government to tax the shit out of you and you can afford nice things? The only political platform give back to Canadians is/was and always has been the conservative.

    • Took Canadian politics in college as well as global citizenship and Aboriginal History in Canada thanks.. Nice twisting of my words though I never said half the things you just claimed I did, but I am the one who can’t read lol. Typical sheep keep on thinking Ford cares about you or anyone outside GTA and his inside guys.. Least the NDP have a solid platform doug doesn’t even have one, just flaps his lips away. I never said anything about illegals. I was correcting your stupid “traveler” remark and saying canada wasn’t founded by illegal immigrants which it was. Immigration has always been a huge part of our country all the way back to its founding. Still amazed that you managed to completely change everything I said to suit your own agenda. Hate to break it to you but, your ancestors were immigrants.

    • DC Mandolin how? Because I can read? Because it is actually embarrassingly easy to see only one group is trying to keep companies in Ontario? Only one group has suggested a tax cut? Other 2 says increase debt, increase taxes. DC, you are a moron

    • Ryan Boissineau you should go back to school. Looks like you partied your way though it. Read the link I tagged you in. 3 platforms. 2 increases taxes and force companies out of Ontario. Only one suggest a tax relief. Only one is trying to help Canadian families. Which is not specific to the GTA. Which the liberals have proven year after year is all they care about

    • I don’t need to go back thank you, you are the one coming off stupid.You complain about the liberals yet they gave us a minimum wage increase, free college, a basic income pilot which is very much needed, specially for a town like ours where there is little to no hope for people to get out of poverty, lots of things that actually help people who are struggling get ahead. Our province is doing great but you just believe what ever Doug ford tells you don’t you? Are you even from the sault? Have you ever walked around james town or any of the low income areas. Have you seen how many needles are around our town now? I think about more then just myself.I look at the bigger picture. Something narrow minded people such as your self seem to not realize. Spending to help people isn’t a bad thing. You act like you are personally footing the bill and other voters have no opinions or rights to what happens to our tax money. I am quite fine with alot of the things the liberals have done and I am not okay with some of what they haven’t. But when I vote, I actually look at the platforms of the parties I don’t just vote stupidly like fordnation is doing without even a platform lol. Ya good luck with that.

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