doug ford stay a la maison

Doug Ford trying to speak French is now an internet meme

Ontario Premier Doug Ford may be down in the polls a bit lately amid pandemic developments, but the man just keeps on keeping on when it comes to delivering internet gold in the form of unusual idioms and, apparently, poor French-language skills.

From the mystical 800-lb gorilla he so often references to telling "yahoos" that they're "a few fries short of a Happy Meal," Ford's never been shy about saying what's on his mind — not even when it involves wanting to stick firecrackers up the "ying yang" of a Pfizer employee.

It was a rather innocous statement he made last week, however, that continues to pick up steam online as these dark, boring days drag on: "Restez à la maison" (or, based on how most people heard it, "we stay a la maison.")

Ford was attempting to clarify some details regarding his government's (at the time rather vague) new stay-at-home order, which was announced last Tuesday and came into effect on Thursday, January  14.

"Folks, there is no confusion here," said Ford in response to the rampant confusion being expressed by citizens, journalists and officials from other levels of government.

"It's very simple. Stay home. Stay home. That's it," he said during a press conference on Wednesday. "If you're questioning, 'Should I go out?' You got the answer. Stay home. Restez à la maison."

People watching the presser at the time couldn't get enough of Ford's pronunciation of "house" in French. First, they questioned whether or not they'd heard the premier speak correctly. Then they laughed.

"Doug Ford really said 'we stay a la maison' — we know who dropped French after grade 9 now," joked one Twitter user. 

"Every time I see the video of Doug Ford saying 'we stay a la maison' I absolutely lose it," wrote another. "Nothing will ever compare."

In the days since, people have been yelling at Ford through their computers to stay in his own maison every time they see him out and about in the press.

"Why is Doug Ford now doing a photo-op in Vaughan? He doesn't need to be there. Stay à la maison, Dougie!" wrote one Twitter user on Monday.

Others have been producing full on remixes, art, parodies and other brilliant pieces of content based on the line. This one poking fun at the dearly-departed Maison Mercer nightclub in Toronto is particularly cackle-inducing.

One dude created his own parody film trailer based on the split-second moment in which DoFo repeated what's currently blared in red across the top of the Quebec government's website.

Some shameless Ontarians are even selling Doug Ford-inspired stay-à-la-maison merch.

I'm talking "à la maison" t-shirts, art prints, candles... anything to stave off and / or profit off of lockdown boredom, I suppose.

As truly funny as some of the "stay à la maison" parodies are, it's important to note that Ford's government has asked people across the province to stay home as much as possible to stop the spread of COVID-19.

As of last January 14 at midnight, and for a period of at least 28 days, a pandemic lockdown order is in place "requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work."

"Essential means different things to different people. We need everyone to use their best judgment. If you're not sure if a trip is absolutely essential, it probably isnt," said Ford last week during his now-famous bilingual spiel.

"Stay home. I really could not be clearer."

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