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Doug Ford asked to apologize over ‘divisive’ comments about immigrants

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TORONTO —
Ontario Premier Doug Ford is being asked to apologize for “divisive” comments made on Monday about immigrants coming to Ontario “to collect the dole.”

Ford was in Tecumseh addressing the skilled labour shortage in the province when he made the comments.

“You come here like every other new Canadian. You work your tail off,” Ford said. “If you think you’re coming to collect the dole and sit around, it’s not going to happen. Go somewhere else.”

‘Collecting the dole’ is a term used in some countries to refer to collecting unemployment benefits.

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The Premier was in Windsor-Essex to make an announcement reaffirming the province’s commitment of $9.8 million for a new mega hospital in the area.

Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca, who labelled the comments “divisive” and “disappointing,” issued a statement asking for an apology from Ford.

“This kind of divisive language is deeply disappointing,” Del Duca said on Twitter. “A Premier is supposed to unite Ontarians, not wedge us further apart. As a son of immigrants, I know first-hand how people like my parents helped to build Ontario. Doug Ford should apologize for his callous comments.”

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When reached for comment, Ford’s spokesperson Ivana Yelich told CTV News Toronto that Ontario is “open to anyone and everyone who wants to work hard, support their family and contribute to their community.”

“Ontario is in desperate need of skilled and unskilled workers to fill its labour shortage,” Yelich said. “While the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program is effective, it’s extremely oversubscribed, which is why for the last several years we have been calling on the federal government to increase the amount of economic immigration into the province,” Yelich said.

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath echoed Del Duca’s statements, saying that Ford chose to “traffic in demeaning stereotypes” with his comments.

“He should apologize. But we’ve been here before. Sadly, this is who he is. Our diverse, welcoming province deserves better,” Horwath said.

Mike Schreiner, leader of the Ontario Green Party, responded to the comments by stating that “immigrants work hard and make vital contributions to our province.”

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“To suggest otherwise is inexcusable and only divides people,” he said.

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