Ontario’s premier said that division stemming from the pandemic has made these last two years a challenge for him and his family.
At a press conference on Monday, Doug Ford announced that the province would be speeding up its reopening plans this month. The premier also acknowledged that the pandemic fanned the flames of political division within the country and within his family.
“I know that this period has been one of the most divisive times in our history,” said Premier Ford. “And one of the hardest things about this pandemic is the way it’s fractured us as a society.”
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He acknowledged that he’d felt this on a personal level. His daughter, Krista Haynes, has gone on a number of anti-vaccination rants throughout the pandemic, bashing vaccine mandates and telling her followers that those who enforce them will pay.
She was seen attending the “Freedom Convoy” at the end of January as it made its way through the GTA on its way to Ottawa.
“All of it has polarized us in a way that we could have never imagined,” he said. “I’ve experienced this in my own family. It’s been one of the hardest things my family and I have ever gone through.”
He added that consequences for those who continue to occupy Ottawa would face stiffer and stiffer consequences.
“To those of you who are there with a sole objective of causing disruption and chaos will be serious consequences for this lawless activity,” he said. “We will continue to raise the consequences against those who are holding millions of jobs and people hostage.”
Those consequences include revoking peoples’ licenses and seizing their vehicles if they continue to use their vehicles.
“If you choose to use your vehicle to create chaos, you will lose that vehicle and your license,” he said.
Ford spoke ahead of a planned meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He said that he would support the federal government’s plans to restore order in Ontario and across the country as protests rage on.
“We’re going to throw every tool we have at you to make sure we bring stability back to our great province and our great country,” he said.
Ford finished his prepared remarks with a hopeful tone. He still believes that Canadians have more to unite them than divide them.
“As hard as this period has been, time will heal this pain, and we will come out on the other end of this ordeal stronger, more resilient, and more united as Canadians,” he said.