Doug Ford spotted on snowmobile in Muskoka during unruly Ontario trucker protests
If the goal of "freedom convoy" protesters in Toronto last Saturday was to badger Doug Ford outside his place of work (or whatever they're trying to do to Justin Trudeau at Parliament Hill,) they failed. Hard. In more ways than one.
While it was unlikely that Ford would be working at Queen's Park on a Saturday, and even less likely that trucks could get close to the legislature with so many streets blocked off, we now know that Ford wasn't even in Toronto at the time.
He was up at the cottage, goin' out for a rip with the boys.
Protecting Ontarians one rip at a time... pic.twitter.com/xkJCRYEhaY— Dean Blundell (@ItsDeanBlundell) February 11, 2022
Photos of the premier surfaced on Facebook just before 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 6 — the same day that a citywide state of emergency was declared in Ottawa amid disruptive, sometimes violent ongoing protests.
It wasn't until today, however, when CTV's Colin D'Mello lobbed a real zinger at the premier during an eventful press conference, that most people learned of Ford's fun weekend jaunt.
"There was a pretty consequential weekend, this last weekend in Ontario. You called it a 'seige,' Ottawa police called it an insurrection... on Saturday, of course, there was a large-scale protest in downtown Toronto," said D'Mello as Ford softly nodded.
"There have been a lot of questions about you and your visibility."
And then the bomb dropped with D'Mello telling Ford that CTV not only has photos of him in cottage country, but witness statements from people who took photos with him while snowmobiling on Saturday.
"Premier? Can you explain why you decided to go snowmobiling during a stated insurrection and siege in Ottawa?" he asked, to which everyone watching went "BOOM!"
Doug Ford finally appeared before the press to rationalize the snowmobile vacation he took at his cottage during an insurrectionist antivax siege taking place in Ottawa & Toronto, blocking critical infrastructure, borders bridges and roads #FreedomConvoy pic.twitter.com/Wc9SGNJVnE— The Perfidious SH (@perfidiousSH) February 11, 2022
Looking a bit angry but not particularly flustered, Ford went on the defense. He had, after all, just declared a provincewide state of emergency over what he himself has called an "illegal occupation."
"Let me make it very clear — I've been on this phone almost 24/7, along with the premiers, U.S. ambassadors, the governor, the prime minister, around the clock. Make no mistake. I have been engaged from the second this happened."
When prodded further about his outdoor sporting adventure specifically, Ford admitted that he was, in fact, at the cottage last weekend and that he did some sleddin'.
"I was at the cottage. I went out on my snowmobile. I take calls until one o'clock in the morning. I get calls before six o'clock in the morning and I will not stop until we get this taken care of, and I will continue to make sure we're engaged in every single area of our responsibility."
Borders closed, Ottawa is under siege and Doug Ford goes to his cottage to snowmobile. pic.twitter.com/LBsmnzlTTN— carol (@Trelawny80) February 11, 2022
Screenshots of the original Facebook post in which Ford can be seen in full winter gear and a helmet, posing outside a warming station, are now circulating widely online, capturing the attention of Ontarians who are less than thrilled to learn that their leader was in Muskoka having fun while both Ottawa and Toronto were bombarded with obnoxious extremist demonstrators.
We can sum up today’s press conference to: Folks, I take calls 24/7 even on my snowmobile at the cottage! 🤦🏻♀️🤦🏻♀️🤦🏻♀️— Maria Garcia (@mriagrcia1) February 11, 2022
111 more days until we can fire Doug Ford. #onpoli
This isn't the first time Ford has come under fire for keeping himself out of the public eye during times of crisis, nor is it the first time he's been caught in cottage country amid lockdown measures, once heading to Muskoka after firmly telling all Ontario residents to stay home.
I didn't have 'Doug Ford snowmobiles during insurrection' on my bingo card.— yeg Iifer (@YEGlifer) February 11, 2022
"Last week while Ontario Liberals were proposing measures to end the illegal Ottawa Occupation, Doug Ford was snowmobiling with his buddies," said Liberal leader Steven Del Duca on Twitter in response to the news. "The devastated residents and small business owners I spoke to in Ottawa were not so lucky."
Of course, not everyone is taking the matter so seriously — this is the internet, after all, and jokes are being made everywhere at the premier's snowmobile riding, Blackberry-using expense.
"Can you imagine the horsepower requirements of a Doug Ford snowmobile? wrote one Twitter user. "Just saying…"
"If Doug Ford's new snowmobile was stuck at the border the Army would end this," joked another.
At least I think they were joking. Who knows anymore?
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