Doug Ford came to the defence of his heavily criticized fundraising event this Thursday which charged those attending $1250 a ticket. Leaders of both the NDP and Liberal Parties had complained that the pricey tickets would suggest to the public that those wealthy enough to attend would hold influence over Ford’s government excluding the middle-class.
“It says to the rest of Ontario, ‘we’re not going to pay attention to you, we’re not going to listen to you, we don’t care about you unless you can give us money to help our political party,” explained NDP Leader Andrea Horwath according to the National Post.
Members of the press were not allowed to attend the luxurious gala which was promoted as “the biggest fundraiser” in Ontario’s history. A group of Toronto Elementary School teachers and students gathered outside of the event to protests Ford's cut to education.
Others took to Twitter to claim that Ford was merely using the event to fill his own pocket:
I guess due to the drop on partisans that is why Ford needed to force people to sale those tickets for his fundraiser ? @OntarioPCParty your pockets are empty ? #Shame #Shame #shame.... blame @fordnation and all your other minions. #AutismDoesntEndAtFord #onpoli #LisaMacLIAR https://t.co/eUB8T4CFwt
Ford attempted to downplay the backlash that he had received for attending the exclusive event by claiming that his party has organized smaller more affordable fundraisers across the province.
“I’m going up to Muskoka on Friday for a $25 dinner, a spaghetti dinner, to talk to the real people,” Ford explained in an attempt to defend the fundraiser. “I encourage everyone to come out Friday to listen to the great things that this government has done for the common folk.”
The Liberal party had previously banned Premiers and cabinet members from attending such events back in 2017 in an attempt to keep big money out of Canadian politics. However, Ford’s government removed those restrictions after being elected.
It is undeniable that Ford’s government was able to fundraise countless more dollars by hosting the luxurious event. But, it certainly didn't come without backlash.