Premier Doug Ford was booed by hundreds at the opening ceremonies of the 2019 Special Olympics Ontario Invitational Youth Games Tuesday evening.
The event, which was held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, was supposed to be a politics-free, non-partisan environment.
However, it quickly became apparent the crowd favoured one politician in attendance over another. In contrast to Ford’s reception, Toronto Mayor John Tory was cheered when he stepped on stage.
Global News asked Ford about the incident on Wednesday at Queens Park. He did not address the jeers.
“It was a great event. I support the Special Olympics and it’s so great to see the smile on the kids’ faces and all the energy in the room. Our government supports it, we funded it,” Ford said.
“I will always continue to support kids with disabilities. I’ve done it my whole life.”
Multiple ministers were also asked about the cold reception after question period on Wednesday and if the crowd’s message resonated.
“I think the important thing there is the premier showed up. The premier is there. We support the Special Olympics, we provide funding, and this premier has been in front of all stakeholders and he was there and proud to say there he was there,” Economic Development and Trade Minister Todd Smith said.
“We knew that the work that we’re doing in Ontario to get Ontario back on track was going to be difficult and not everyone is going to be supportive of it, but we have a job to do and a job we were elected to do and that was to get Ontario’s financial house back in order.”
Deputy Premier Christine Elliott echoed Smith’s sentiments.
“The premier was there last night. The premier supports the work that Special Olympics is doing. I think that is the important point,” she told reporters.
Elliott then pivoted to talking points on the deficit.
“What people understand is that we inherited a financial disaster from the last government of $15-billion deficit and so we are responsible as financial stewards to protect what matters most in Ontario.”
Opposition leader Andrea Horwath called the jeers a signal that Ford’s policies are angering many in the province.
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