Premier Doug Ford has come under fire after Ontario Government employees continuously applaud loudly at the end of news conferences, in an effort it seems to drown out reporters questions. And this isn’t the first time Ford has done this.
It’s called a “clap out,” and on Thursday, it was during Doug Ford’s announcement to combat gun and gang violence in Toronto. Ford limited journalists’ questions, allowed no follow up questions and some say refused to be held accountable for his words.
NDP MPP Gilles Bisson says, “Doug Ford is using taxpayers dollars to take political staff to waste taxpayers dollars to go applaud at a press conference is a complete abuse of power and is a complete waste of money.”
“It’s childish, it prevents the media from asking questions and it’s wrong. I’ve never seen this before, it started in the campaign and then it continued here and then it stopped and then it started again. That’s the whole purpose.” says Liberal MPP John Fraser.
It came to a head in late July when Lisa MacLeod was making an announcement. A reporter couldn’t get his question in and didn’t hesitate to make his voice heard.
Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenburger weighed in on the matter saying, “Unbelievable behaviour! Something akin to what we have come to expect in USA. Shocking & unsettling to witness this in Ontario & in what I always thought was our decent & respectful Canada.”
Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner also tweeted out his disappointment saying: “Taxpayer money should not be used to pay for a cheerleading squad at the Premier’s news conferences. These tactics are disrespectful to the media and undermine democratic accountability.”
Attorney General Caroline Mulroney came to Ford’s defence. “I think he took his time answering the questions, wanting to make sure he addressed the questions in a very full-some way.”
It’s still in the early stages of Ford’s government so it’s too early to tell if Ford will make a habit out of this behaviour.