Premier Doug Ford told the legislature he condemns hate speech, be it from Toronto mayoral candidate and white nationalist Faith Goldy or anyone else. But critics say his remarks do not go far enough.
After a coalition of anti-hate groups spoke at Queen’s Park earlier in the day, urging the premier to distance himself from Goldy by speaking out in the legislature, and not just via Twitter as he did Wednesday afternoon, Ford, for the first time, uttered the controversial candidate’s name during question period.
“I’ve been clear, over and over and over again, every single day,” he said in response to a question from NDP Leader Andrea Horwath in the house.
“I condemn hate speech, anti-Semitism and racism of all forms, be it from Faith Goldy, be it from anyone,” he said, before criticizing the NDP for not dealing with controversies involving its own candidates during the election.
At his annual Ford Fest last weekend, the premier posed for a photo with Goldy and her supporters, which she posted on social media. Goldy, a fringe candidate running for Toronto mayor, has since cited Ford’s name in campaign robocalls, saying she is the only one who stands with him on cutting the size of council.
Ford answered a second question on the issue from Liberal Leader John Fraser by also referring to the NDP, the debate growing heated at times as a rattled Ford yelled “cop haters” and “veteran haters” at the opposition.
When asked if Ford has requested Goldy cease using his name in the robocalls, a spokesperson said that “Premier Ford has been clear: he condemns hate speech, anti-Semitism and racism in all forms, be it from Faith Goldy or anyone else.
“The premier will not be involving himself in the Toronto mayoral race.”
For days, Ford resisted calls for days from the opposition and anti-hate groups to distance himself from Goldy, until his tweet.
After his comments in the house Thursday, Bernie Farber of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, said Ford needs to do more.
“I was flabbergasted,” said Farber, well-known for his decades of advocacy work and his role with the Canadian Jewish Congress. Farber said Ford should have said he rejects Faith Goldy, white supremacy and anti-Semitism.
That he didn’t “is just scary for the people of Ontario.”
The anti-hate network has also written to Jewish PC MPPs Gila Martow (Thornhill) and Roman Baber (York Centre).
Martow accused Ford’s critics of playing politics.
“I think that he’s been quite clear,” she said. “I guess they wanted him to say the name — as though that makes a difference when he said he denounces all forms of hate and intolerance.”
On Twitter, Goldy said she has “publicly called for a re-routing of immigration to traditional source countries (i.e. Europe), for a Canada that returns to pre-state multiculturalism demographics (96 per cent euro-Canadian). Nothing to be ashamed of!”
Kristin Rushowy is a Toronto-based reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow her on Twitter: @krushowy