Ontario Premier Doug Ford got caught up sharing a personal story about his tie during a news conference Tuesday morning, and the awkward moment is causing much more anger than laughs.
The news conference was held as many Ontario students returned to class following a two-day province-wide strike by education workers, but Ford got a little distracted as he offered an update about his government's contract negotiations with CUPE.
As he was taking questions, a reporter gave the premier a compliment on his tie.
"Oh, thank you," Ford said. "I'm gonna tell you a story about that tie at the end. It's an interesting story."
He carried on taking questions, many of them about his government's controversial decision to make the strike by Ontario education workers illegal, before circling back to end on a "lighter note."
"This is a very serious topic, folks, and I'm going to have a lighter note, because you've gotta have a lighter note sometimes," Ford said, gearing up for story time.
"So about my tie (...) There was a gentleman, a really good friend of ours. A grandfather, he's in his 80's, what a sweetheart he is. I just went by and said, you know, 'I love that tie.' Next thing you know, he's ripping it off his neck (...) He took the tie off his neck and bingo, whipped it around me," said Ford.
"It's a fancy tie. I've never had more compliments about a tie in the morning in my entire life," Ford said, thanking the man as he wrapped up his news conference and walked off the stage. "You're a champion, and I'll wear it with pride."
Doug Ford Shared A Story About His "Fancy Tie" During CUPE Press Conference www.youtube.com
The premier smiled from ear to ear as he told this story, but, judging by the online reaction, he seems to be the only one who enjoyed it.
\u201cNO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR FREAKIN TIE @fordnation #onpoli\u201d— Dr Beth Parton (@Dr Beth Parton) 1667919169
The randomness of Ford's story caught many off guard, especially given the reason he was holding this news conference in the first place.
\u201cHoly F. @fordnation just changed an answer about the abrogation of citizens rights through the use of section 33 into a story about where he got his tie. Because \u201ceveryone needs a lighter note\u201d\u201d— gordon cooke (@gordon cooke) 1667919145
Others said his repeated attempts to appear more personable fall flat.
\u201c@fordnation took an 80 year old\u2019s tie. So what? What does that have to do with fair bargaining? Why didn\u2019t he just say, \u201cl\u2019m sorry. We screwed up. We will make amends.\u201d Irrelevant anecdotes don\u2019t make us forgive him.\u201d— Marianne Scott (@Marianne Scott) 1667919362
During the news conference, Ford said he was "relieved" that CUPE ended its strike, and he announced his government is getting back to the bargaining table with an "improved" contract offer for education workers.
"I don't want to fight. I just want the kids in school," said Ford.
He refused to discuss the details of this new offer or any other details related to this latest round of negotiations but said there has to be a "little give" on both sides.
Ford also said his government will introduce legislation to officially repeal the bill that made the strike by education workers illegal on Monday.