Transcript: Ep. 109 - Doug Ford apologizes | Apr 27, 2021

DOUG FORD:
I know we got it wrong,
I know we made a mistake,
and for that, I'm sorry
and I sincerely apologize.
STEVE:
Welcome everyone
to the #onpoli Podcast.
I'm Steve Paikin.
JOHN MICHAEL:
And I'm John Michael McGrath.
STEVE:
It is not often you hear
the words "I'm sorry"
from a politician, let alone the
premier of Ontario.
A very emotional Doug Ford
apologized for the restrictions
he implemented two weekends ago,
some of which he then rolled
back, admitting he got it wrong.
We'll talk about that apology.
Also, health communications
researcher Dr. Heidi Tworek
joins the pod to talk
pandemic communications
and guidance for
the partially vaccinated.
It's Tuesday, April 27th, 2021.
So, let's get to it.
(Funky music playing)
JMM, when we gathered
in this space a week ago,
it was to discuss maybe the most
extraordinary 180
I think I've ever
seen a government do
in such a short space of time.
Think policing and playgrounds,
if listeners want to know
what we're referring to.
This past week, another
extraordinary development -
an emotional apology from
Premier Doug Ford,
followed by an acknowledgement
that Ontario may have to
bring in paid sick days.
A new plan, after all, after
months of rejecting the idea.
Why do you think the government
may be changing
its mind on this issue?
JOHN MICHAEL:
You know, for months now,
various public officers,
various health officials,
as well as
opposition parties and mayors
and city councils and newspapers
have all been advocating
for some kind of
paid sick days measure.
People may recall that this
government inherited a law
that said that employers had to
provide,
I believe,
it was two paid sick days.
The Tories removed
that provision
of Ontario employment law
when they took power.
The NDP and Liberals have both
introduced private members bills
in the legislature to amend
the Employment Standards Act
to provide for paid sick leave.
But for almost
all of the past year,
the Ontario government has
pointed to the federally created
and federally funded Canada
Recovery Sickness Benefit,
which is a federal program
you can apply for
if you get sick with COVID-19
and need to take time off.
But there have been numerous
criticisms of the program.
You have to apply
for it after the fact.
It's not automatic
the way a provision
of provincial employment
legislation would be,
and it takes
time to get the money.
And in the
Ontario context anyway,
it actually pays less than a
full time worker would make
earning the minimum wage
in this province.
So, you know,
why did the Premier
and why did the government
change its mind now?
Well...
(Chuckling)
...the official explanation
is that they were waiting on the
federal budget, which was,
of course, presented last week,
and they were hoping that the
feds would improve the CRSB
that they administer, would
make, you know, tweaks to it,
make it more generous,
make it flow faster.
But when the budget came out,
there was no real
improvement to the program.
And the government's
stated position
is that if the feds are not
going to improve the program,
then Ontario is going to
step in to, you know,
as they say, fill the gaps.
STEVE:
You say "stated position,"
which makes me think that, well,
how reasonable or likely do you
think that explanation is?
JOHN MICHAEL:
I would need
a very powerful microscope
to find the almost
imperceptible chances
that the government's official
explanation is the true one.
Look, you can't separate
politics from politics.
And I think the most
obvious explanation
for the government's
about-face here is, you know,
after the events of the past,
especially the past two weeks,
but frankly,
the past two months,
the political crisis that the
government has found itself in
has made them retreat on this
issue of paid sick leave,
in the hopes that they can
mollify some of their critics.
But this is a
tough position they're in
because they still
don't really want to do it.
They still don't want
to make a program
that's more generous
than it needs to be.
We're talking about
billions of dollars
that they would prefer
that they not have to spend.
So, they are caught between,
you know, just based
on their own past actions,
having been forced
to do something
that they don't
really want to do,
at the same time as they're up
against trying to satisfy
criticisms from
the New Democrats,
the Liberals and the Green
leader Mike Schreiner.
I don't know how
they square that circle.
And it is worth telling our
listeners in this context that,
on Monday,
after question period,
the government voted against
Liberal MPP Michael Coteau's
private member's bill
that would have given
workers paid sick leave.
This comes after, you know,
many weeks of stating publicly
that they were going
to vote against it.
The government is-- I would say
it's pretty clear right now
that they are working on
some measure, some bills,
some program
that they can call their own.
They just haven't
presented it yet,
and it seems pretty clear
that they don't want
to share any credit
with the opposition parties.
STEVE:
Mm-hmm. Well, one thing
we do know at this stage
is that the government's
popularity has taken a big hit
because of the events
of the past few weeks.
And at the risk of
inundating people with numbers -
which we always say
we're not going to do,
but I am going to do right now
because this really is
really quite striking -
let's just follow the progress
of Premier Ford's popularity
over the past 13 months or so.
So, we're going to go back
to start at March of 2020.
No pandemic yet.
61 percent of Ontarians
disapprove of Ford,
only 23 percent approve.
That is a minus 38
approval rating, minus 38.
Pretty bad.
But then the pandemic hits
and two months later,
the pollsters are
back in the field.
It's May 2020 now, and 46
percent approve of Ford;
only 25 percent disapprove.
That is a plus 21
approval rating.
Now, that is a massive--
in two months' time,
a massive 59 point change in
Ford's political fortunes.
That is really
astonishing in politics.
Sometimes you've got to wait--
well, sometimes those kinds
of changes never happen.
But if they do, sometimes you've
got to wait months and months,
if not years and years
for them to happen.
As we know, things
have gotten tougher again
for the Premier more lately,
and now his approval
rating is 28 percent;
his disapproval
rating is 46 percent.
So, he's 18 points
underwater today.
JMM, these wild swings
in popularity
remind us that what
goes up can come down,
but it can also go up again,
and we should be careful
about writing this premier's
political obituary too early.
JOHN MICHAEL:
Exactly.
The election is far enough away
that I don't think anybody
should be super confident
about what these
numbers are telling us.
But it is also interesting that
these numbers do seem to show
growing support
for the Liberals.
In particular, we have an
Innovative Research Group poll
that shows the Liberals in first
with 30 percent support.
The PCs in second
with 26 percent,
and the New Democrats
in third with 23 percent.
I think that's the first poll
out of the last five
we've seen in the last few
months that doesn't have
the Progressive Conservatives in
first place.
So, you know,
if you're on the blue team,
this is disconcerting.
And on the question of who
would make the best premier,
Ford is still number one,
but his numbers have dropped -
he's at 24 percent.
Andrea Horvath of the NDP
is second at 21 percent.
Steven Del Duca of the
Liberals is at 14 percent.
Mike Schreiner of the
Greens is just at five.
As is not uncommon
for polls like this,
the biggest number is
"none of the above"
or "I don't know",
which is thirty-four percent.
One interesting point that I'll
add about that innovative poll -
Steven Del Duca has the second
highest number of people saying
they don't know or have no
opinion about him, personally.
The highest was Mike Schreiner
of the Green Party.
So, at the moment,
you've got the Liberals doing
relatively well as a party.
But the Liberal brand
is still reasonably strong.
But people don't
have their minds made up
about
Steven Del Duca personally.
So, at the risk of
prognosticating here...
(Chuckling)
...um, you know,
that says to me this could still
go a lot of different ways.
Del Duca, in theory, still
has room to grow his support,
potentially, or, you know, and
we've seen this happen before,
his popularity
could really suffer
under what we can only assume
will be a barrage of attack ads
coming from the PC party
in the next election.
STEVE:
Well, we know those
are on the way, for sure.
And I always like
to tell the story,
when people assume they know
how things will turn out
13 months ahead of time -
I do remember in January of 1985
that only 10 percent of
Ontarians could identify
who the leader of
the opposition was then.
His name was David Peterson.
Six months later, he was
the premier of the product.
JOHN MICHAEL:
Right.
(Chuckling)
STEVE:
So, you know, campaigns tend
to clarify a lot of things
that people think
they know but don't.
Now, let me raise one more issue
before we go to the interview
that you've got teed up,
and that is both Doug Ford
and the Quebec premier
François Legault
signed a letter to the prime
minister of the country,
asking him to further
restrict international flights
into Ontario and Quebec.
And then - surprise, surprise,
he said, with his tongue
firmly planted in his cheek -
a few days later, the Ontario PC
party sent out an e-blast,
pointing out how hard
Ford has been trying
to get Justin Trudeau to impose
tougher restrictions
at the borders.
But the federal
initiatives have,
in Ford's view,
just been too little, too late.
"It's time," the e-blast says,
"that the federal
government does its job
"and protects our borders."
And then, they ask you to sign
a petition and let Doug know
you support stronger
measures at the borders.
And it's signed, actually,
Prabmeet Zakharia,
who's the MP for Brampton South
and a cabinet minister.
Now, a couple
of things here, JMM.
Number one, we can be
almost 100 percent sure
Minister Zakharia had nothing
whatsoever to do with this,
even though
his signature is on it.
This obviously came
from party HQ,
probably the fundraising wing.
And two,
what do we think
of this oldest play
in the playbook?
Namely, when things are
tough at Queen's Park,
find some issue you
can blame the feds about
and try to change the channel.
(John Michael chuckling)
JOHN MICHAEL:
You know, there's
a historical record here.
As recently as December,
the Premier was talking
about lowering the barriers
for flyers coming into Pearson.
He wanted to lower the
14th day self-isolation period
for travellers to ten days
with the use of rapid testing.
Now, obviously,
I think it's fair to say
that things were different in
December than they are now.
But my point is that the
province and the feds
have always been very
leery about closing flights,
closing air travel.
There are real harms and costs
that come from restricting
international travel.
Both levels of government,
until a few weeks ago,
were being very cautious about
any additional measures.
And now, all of a sudden,
with the provincial
government taking fire
on its sort of pandemic
handling, generally,
they have turned up the volume
on this particular criticism
of the federal government.
So, yeah, I mean,
I think the government -
the Ford government, that is -
bears the burden of proof here.
I mean, you need to show
that this isn't opportunism
or deflection.
There is at least some small
measure of consensus here
because the feds did actually
implement some restrictions
on direct flights from
India and Pakistan last week
in response to criticism
from the provinces,
the official opposition in
Ottawa and wider media.
So, you know, we'll see
if that goes any further.
STEVE:
That is fair to point out,
as I think it is
equally fair to point out,
that whoever signs up
and sends their emails in
to sign that petition
and show them how upset you are
with the federal government,
that, in the days ahead,
you're going to be
receiving another email
from the fundraising wing
of the provincial
Progressive Conservative Party
to see if-- I think
the language is always
"give five bucks
if you agree with Doug"
or "send 10 bucks if you
agree with Doug." Anyways...
JOHN MICHAEL:
Yeah, I, um...
I try very hard not to
give my email out to anybody
who I don't absolutely have to,
and still, the PC party
has managed to find three
separate email addresses for me.
(Both laughing)
STEVE:
Well, okay,
let's set up this next interview
with this question -
how would you describe
the communication strategy
coming out of the
Premier's office these days?
JOHN MICHAEL:
Uh...
(Chuckling)
What's that line
from Apocalypse Now?
"I don't see any method
at all, sir."
I think "chaotic"
would be a fair description.
So, I wanted to
talk with an expert
about how Ontario
might change its strategy.
People who have been
listening to the podcast
since last September
might recognize
Dr. Heidi Tworek's name.
She is a health
communications researcher
and associate professor at the
University of British Columbia,
and she was on
the podcast last year,
talking about how
Ontario could improve
its pandemic communications.
Given the events
of the last few weeks,
it felt like an appropriate
time to have her back.
So, here is my interview
with Dr. Heidi Tworek.
(Light upbeat music playing)
Heidi Tworek,
welcome to the podcast.
HEIDI:
Thanks so much for having me.
JOHN MICHAEL:
And I should say it properly,
welcome back to the podcast.
We don't have
that many repeat guests.
(Both chuckling)
HEIDI:
Alas, this is an instance
where we need to do a repeat,
unfortunately.
JOHN MICHAEL:
Unfortunately, yes.
You are based in B.C.,
but you have been keeping an eye
on things here in Ontario.
We've been trying
to keep it lively
for people
outside of the province.
What do you make of the
province's news conference
the other week,
where they announced
they were closing
outdoor activities,
playgrounds and giving police
new enforcement powers?
HEIDI:
It was honestly
a tremendous shame to see
for a whole host of reasons,
including that we now
have over a year of evidence
on how COVID is transmitted,
what are the safer ways
that we can still have some
enjoyment in our lives.
And I had just co-written,
with two infectious
diseases specialists -
Zain Chagla and
Sumon Chakrabarti -
the Monday before,
a piece in the Toronto Star
about how we need
to change the narrative
about outdoors transmission.
Nobody says it's
one hundred percent safe,
but it's eminently safer
than indoor gatherings.
And so,
it was a tremendous shame
and frustration for me
to see, four days later,
the province shutting
down those kinds of things.
And then, on top of that,
not really addressing
some of the major points
that infectious
diseases specialists
and even more local medical
health officers
have been bringing up as
the key place of transmission,
particularly workplaces.
JOHN MICHAEL:
The workplace thing,
I think, is really key,
that it was, you know,
the dog that didn't bark
in that announcement.
But I do want to talk about
outdoor transmission here.
You have written and, as you
say, numerous other studies
have shown that
outdoors is so much safer.
It's sort of like the
ultimate well ventilated space
and it can be very low risk.
So, I mean, in your mind, why,
despite this year of
experience, as you say,
why do we keep seeing people
effectively say that,
you know,
outdoor gatherings are risky
or that outdoor-- you know, even
even congregating outdoors?
People are, I think,
overstating the risks.
HEIDI:
I think there's
a couple of reasons.
One is the fact that what we do
outdoors is simply more visible.
And so,
when we see cases going up,
people see someone outside
and they think it must be
spreading from there,
even though we know
from the data that it isn't.
The second aspect is the
unfortunate policy by anecdote,
which is something that
we saw from Doug Ford himself,
who said that he had driven past
a bunch of people
who were outside,
and that was part of
what informed his decision
to shut down outdoor spaces.
And I think
the third aspect of it
has been the
representation in the media,
where we have seen,
consistently since last summer,
the use of photos
of people gathering outside
as a way to illustrate articles
about COVID-19 and transmission.
So often when you read
the text of the article,
it will actually
say the diametric opposite
of what the pictures are saying.
So, it will say something
about how outdoors
is safer than indoors, and you
look at what the photo is
and it's a telephoto lens of
people gathering on a beach,
which makes it seem like
they're gathered close together.
So, I think a combination
of those three things
has led to this
continued impression
that we need to
control outdoor spaces
in a way that the science,
frankly, doesn't support.
JOHN MICHAEL:
When you were on the
podcast back in September,
one of the things you said
that really doesn't work
is shaming -
publicly shaming people
or even privately shaming them.
But we still see that language
and you see it about people
congregating in parks, right?
Or, for that matter,
people going to work sick.
Why does shaming
not work, as a remedial lesson?
HEIDI:
So, there are
a whole host of reasons
why shaming doesn't work.
One is that it may fundamentally
discourage that group of people
who is being shamed from going
to get tested because they worry
that, if they do have COVID,
then they'll be shamed for it.
Secondly, it could prevent them
from wanting to participate
in things like
contact tracing, again,
because they fear
being blamed in some way.
And then, thirdly,
if we want to think about
what makes for an inclusive
sort of community response,
singling out particular groups
and then blaming them
is not a way to
maintain and build rapport.
And maybe the
final thing I'll say is
that what we've often seen
in these kinds of shaming
is that they
fundamentally misrepresent
how transmission is happening.
And I say this is
not just an Ontario problem.
It's also been a B.C. problem.
A few weeks ago that
the premier John Horgan
said to people between
the ages of 20 and 39, quote,
"Don't blow this for us,"
implying that the reason there
were cases in that age group
was that there were lots of
indoor parties and so on,
but we didn't
really have the data,
necessarily, to support that.
And so, this created a huge
amount of resentment
from people in that age group,
many of who were
losing their jobs,
as indoor dining in
restaurants was shut down.
So, that really doesn't make for
a way in which
we can actually understand,
"Okay, this is how
transmission is happening.
"This is why there's a lot of
transmission within this group,"
and then we come up with
policies to suggest it.
Instead, it descends into
a bit of a mudslinging battle.
JOHN MICHAEL:
What strategies
instead of shaming?
Which I think we desperately
need to be looking away from.
Instead of shaming,
what should politicians
and public health officials
be using instead?
HEIDI:
Right. So, I think what we've
seen in a lot of places
where there has been effective
communications is we need trust
and rapport building
with the public.
We need honesty about where
things could be going.
We need clarity
about what is uncertain
and what are the
sorts of things that,
then are going
to be addressed.
So, let's say there's
some uncertainty about
where transmission is happening,
acknowledging that uncertainty,
and then saying, "Here are the
steps that are going to be taken
"in order to address that."
So, that kind of
rapport building means
that people may feel,
"Okay, look,
"we're going to hang on
with these guidelines.
"We think that
they're reasonable.
"We understand that
they're science-driven.
"And that's going to mean that
we're actually going to adhere
"to them because
they make sense to us."
So, that kind of
rapport building,
so that people trust you
when you have to come out
with new guidelines,
if indeed you do,
is tremendously important.
And I think it also matters,
even looking forwards
or at this moment for the
vaccines as well,
so that when there are changing
guidelines on those vaccines
that you trust the public health
officials and politicians
who are telling you that
something is safe for you.
And if there is no rapport
between your public
and the politicians
or health officials
giving you those guidelines,
it's really potentially
going to undermine
vaccine confidence as well.
JOHN MICHAEL:
You know, Ontario is on track
to vaccinate about 40 percent
of its adult population
by the end of April.
As we record this, about a
quarter of the people
in this province
are partially vaccinated.
But there's
no real clear guidance
from public health officials yet
about what people who have one
but not both of their shots
should be doing
or should not be doing.
And, you know, I don't know if
you necessarily want to speak
about the specifics
of what public health guidance
should or shouldn't be,
but do you have any thoughts on
how this should be
communicated to people?
HEIDI:
It's a great question.
There's obviously
a lot of unknowns
about what one vaccine will do.
We're starting to see much, much
more data coming out about,
specifically, what it means
when you're fully vaccinated.
But I think here there
are a couple of things
that we can think about.
One is what an
American epidemiologist -
Michael Osterholm -
has called "winnable moments".
So, how do you motivate
people to get vaccinated?
It's because, in part,
they know that things,
at some point afterwards,
will change.
They'll have winnable moments.
You know, grandparents
hugging their grandkids,
that kind of stuff that we're
seeing in some places in the US.
So, I think that's
one thing to bear in mind,
as a motivating tool.
The other is, as I said,
to think about how do you,
at least, tell people
you're working on this,
help people to understand
that you may not
have the answer right now,
but it is something that's in
the hopper that you are,
in fact, working on and that you
will come out with a plan
and guidelines at a certain
point in the future?
I think that can also be
tremendously helpful because,
otherwise, people have a sense
that they've gotten the vaccine,
of course, they're happy
because they get a sense,
at some point, restrictions
are going to be lifted,
but you do want some
sort of short-term sense
of what might change for you.
And those kinds of plannability
guidelines, I think,
has been something that
has been lacking for all of us
in this pandemic.
I'm a human being
who loves to plan,
so I've just had to let go of
that side of my personality,
and I know that's true
for a huge number of people.
So, anything we can do to just
give people a little bit more
of a sense of "This is at least
when we'll have guidelines
"and this is when you might be
able to do more things,"
that can just help us to,
I think, have
a little bit less anxiety that,
suddenly, tomorrow, things are
going to change again.
JOHN MICHAEL:
Now, the premier, Doug Ford,
he gave this tearful apology
and he is, you know,
currently in self-isolation
and he gave his
apology outside his home.
But his party's poll numbers
have taken a pretty
substantial hit in recent weeks.
There seems to be,
I think it's fair to say,
a general feeling that the
government has lost
at least some of the trust
that it had at the
beginning of the pandemic.
Is it possible for a government
like this to bring people back
and buy into public health
measures that, you know,
could still be necessary at this
point in the pandemic?
Is it possible
to bring them back
once you've lost that trust?
HEIDI:
It's a great question.
I mean, the number one way
you're going to be able
to bring people back is by
showing evidence
that you are listening
to your scientific advisers
and you are taking on board
what they recommend
and you are addressing
that as quickly as possible.
And apology has meaning when it
does a couple of things -
one, it's sincere.
and two, it makes sense
in terms of what
you're apologizing for,
and three,
there are very concrete steps
of what you're
going to do to rectify
the thing that went wrong.
And particularly step three is
where I think we could see
a couple of really
helpful things.
One is, of course, listening
to the scientific advisers,
including on
workplace transmission,
on where vaccines are being
sent and so on and so forth.
A second would
also be transparency
because there are all sorts of
questions around the selection
of those vaccination hotspots,
and those
sorts of things, I think,
can make a
tremendous difference.
If the public has a sense that
this is really a science driven
and reactive response,
where the government is learning
from its previous mistakes
and really turning
things around,
then you can increase the
amount of trust in guidelines.
But at this moment,
we're not seeing
that third component
of the apology,
that I think could
potentially increase trust.
JOHN MICHAEL:
You know, the last
question I wanted to ask,
and this is more of a
comparative question -
when we spoke in September,
I think the, really,
national consensus
was that your-- rather B.C.'s
chief medical officer,
Dr. Bonnie Henry, was really
one of the nation leaders
in terms of the clarity
and the empathy of her
public health communications.
And she got a lot of credit
for B.C.'s conduct
in the first wave
of the pandemic.
And I guess I'm curious
how you think that has held up.
Obviously, you mentioned
John Horgan, you know,
saying to young people,
"Don't blow this for us."
That's not exactly, I think,
a Bonnie Henry
approved message, maybe.
But I just wonder how
you think that assessment
from earlier in the pandemic
has held up in B.C.?
HEIDI:
I think that we've
seen, certainly,
some questions arise over that
and some of the, perhaps,
weaknesses in the B.C.
communications
that were there from the start
become more important
as time went on.
One of those is the question of
the level of data transparency,
which, of course, as children
went back to school,
became more
and more of a question.
Another was the use of social
media and how far this message
was really meeting the whole of
the province where it was at,
perhaps, in particular,
young people.
And there's been
more social media,
but maybe not as much
as one might have wanted.
And then, I think,
of course, you know, the second
and third waves
have raised questions
about the rapidity of response
and has created a lot of
resentment around that,
which is, of course, perhaps
partly a political question
that we may know more
about as time goes on.
So, I think there's still a lot
of respect for Bonnie Henry,
but some of those questions
around data transparency,
reaching the entirety of
the B.C. population
and whether there could have
been a little bit more
of a rapid reaction to prevent,
in particular, this third wave
getting so bad
that in nine hospitals
in the Lower Mainland now,
non-essential
surgeries all postponed
or cancelled for
the next two weeks.
STEVE:
That was Heidi Tworek -
health communications researcher
and associate professor at the
University of British Columbia.
Now, JMM, I know we're about
to do our quotes of the week,
but I thought I'd sneak one
unofficial quote in here first.
During COVID times, we are
always on the lookout for kids
or pets or spouses, somebody
who's making an unscheduled
cameo appearance during
a press conference,
and it happened to Liberal
leader Steven Del Duca last week
as he was trying
to make a serious point
about the government's
record on this pandemic.
Have a listen
and see if you can hear
who's making a cameo
in this Q&A with yours truly.
STEVEN:
And this notion of
pointing the finger of blame
at a different level of
government or someone else
is completely consistent...
(Dog barking)
...with how misplaced Doug
Ford's approach...
(Dog barking)
...to the pandemic has
been all the way through.
STEVE:
This is not my official follow
up, but what's the dog's name?
STEVEN:
(Laughing)
That was Sammy,
our eight month old yellow lab.
STEVE:
Sammy, okay.
My official follow-up...
There's Liberal leader Steven
Del Duca and his dog Sammy.
Now, as promised,
we conclude this podcast
with our other
favourite quotes of the week,
and we'll have those
immediately after we ask you
to give us a rating
on Apple Podcasts
or any other social media
platform for that matter -
Twitter, Facebook,
whatever you like.
Help suggest ways to make the
show a little bit better.
JOHN MICHAEL:
You can also shoot us an email
at onpolitics@TVO.org.
We got a nice note a
few weeks ago from a listener
that we wanted to share.
They wrote,
"Just a little special thank you
"to Steve Paikin for his sidebar
"about getting his
AstraZeneca shot.
"His access was certainly
easier than mine has been,
"but it was him
quoting the pharmacist
"about how few people had signed
up that spurred me to sign up.
"I'm not vaccine hesitant,
"but I am able to live
a highly quarantined life,
"and I thought I would
let all the over 60s
"who believe they need to
be at the front of the line
"go ahead of me.
"Thanks for the warning about
the day after the shot."
(Steve laughing)
STEVE:
Yes, the day after was--
boy,
I was down for the count there.
But that's probably
got to be the only occasion
in my nearly 40 years
in this business
where I actually said something
and it resulted in somebody else
taking an actual action.
(John Michael laughing)
Be careful here.
I'm on a-- I'm on a roll.
(Both laughing)
JOHN MICHAEL:
That's a good one, though.
STEVE:
Yeah, let's hope so. Let's hope.
Anyway, here now is
my quote of the week,
and we're going to
go back to Doug Ford's
extraordinary news conference,
where he was
choking back the tears
and apologizing to Ontarians
for, in his words,
"getting it wrong."
DOUG FORD:
My friends, through
this entire pandemic,
I've tried to
be the calming voice,
to offer you hope and certainty.
Maybe I haven't
always lived up to that,
but I've always done my best.
And let me say that
the greatest honour of my life
was to be elected
to be your premier.
I work for you, my bosses,
you, the people of Ontario.
STEVE:
That's part of Premier Doug
Ford's apology from last week.
JOHN MICHAEL:
And my quote of the week
comes from
question period on Monday.
New Democrat MPP Gurratan Singh,
who represents the
writing of Brampton East,
was grilling the government
about the resources
that have been provided
to one of the hardest hit
parts of the province,
and he brought up
the case of Emily Viegas -
a 13-year-old who died of
COVID-19 last week.
Here's what Singh had to say
about the terrible dilemma
Emily's father Carlos faced.
GURRATAN SINGH:
He knew that Brampton Civic was
one of the worst hit hospitals
in our entire
country with COVID-19,
and he was afraid that
if Emily went there,
she'd be sent to a hospital
outside of Brampton
and be separated
from both her parents.
So, he did his best
to take care of her and...
(Voice breaking:)
...he did his best
to take care of her
and he thought that
Emily would get better soon.
The next day,
Emily Victoria Viegas
became one of the youngest
Canadians to die from COVID-19.
How many more
deaths will it take
before the
Conservative government
give Brampton the support we
need to fight COVID-19?
(Audience applauding)
JOHN MICHAEL:
That's MPP Gurratan Singh
speaking during question period.
On Monday, the legislature
observed a moment of silence
in honour of
Emily Victoria Viegas,
who was one of the
youngest people in Canada
killed by COVID-19.
(Steve inhaling deeply)
STEVE:
And that was episode 109
of the #onpoli Podcast,
produced by Katie O'Conner,
edited from Matthew O'Mara,
production support
from Nikki Ashworth
and Jonathan Halliwell.
JMM, as my dad likes to say,
"stay positive, test negative."
JOHN MICHAEL:
Stay safe, Steve.

Watch: Ep. 109 - Doug Ford apologizes