TORONTO — An NDP MPP has apologized for calling Ontario Premier Doug Ford a “piece of s**t” during question period Wednesday.
“I used unparliamentary language in the House,” Essex MPP Taras Natyshak said at a press conference. “I want to take the opportunity to apologize to the premier and my colleagues in the House.”
He said he tries to hold himself to a high standard but his “fears” about COVID-19 outbreaks and the economic impacts of the pandemic on his community got the better of him.
Watch: Premier Ford and MPP Natyshak have a history of heated exchanges.
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Ford said he was unperturbed by the insult.
“You know something, it’s water off a duck’s back. I’ve never heard anyone swear in over 200 times I’ve been in the House. You just don’t do that,” he told reporters at his daily press conference.
“But, it happens. I forgive the guy.”
Natyshak made the comment during a special physically distanced sitting of the legislature.
Ford was responding to a question about the economic reopening of the Windsor area, which includes Natyshak’s riding.
The area had not been allowed to reopen because of COVID-19 outbreaks among migrant workers. But Ford’s government announced Wednesday that most of the region, except for Leamington and Kingsville, will move to stage two of reopening Thursday.
“Without any details, the premier did announce this morning that he finally now today has a plan to move Windsor and Essex and Leamington to stage two, weeks after local officials, businesses and citizens have been begging him to show leadership,” Natyshak said.
“Will the premier finally commit to deploying all available resources to test, trace and contain the outbreak on farms so that all communities in Windsor, Essex and Chatham-Kent, who have sacrificed so much, can safely reopen and rebuild our economy?”
‘He has done absolutely nothing’
Ford responded by saying he’d heard complaints about Natyshak.
“I wasn’t going to mention this, but now, since he sent a missile over, I’ll tell what you the head of the association said,” Ford said about remarks he had heard from one of Natyshak’s constituents.
“They named the member from Essex, without prompting from me, named his name and said he has done absolutely nothing here—absolutely nothing. I didn’t prompt this; he actually called you out by name.”
Natyshak shouted: “You’re such a piece of s**t.”
The Speaker asked the MPP to withdraw his comment and he complied.
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Natyshak also said that early intervention could have prevented the outbreaks and resulting economic impact as businesses have been forced to remain closed.
“Our region has undoubtedly been hit harder than others from this pandemic, and despite the lack of leadership provincially, we’ve persevered,” he said.
“Speaker, this is not sustainable, not for one more day. A good leader doesn’t leave anyone behind. A good leader identifies the threats early and moves the resources to where they are needed most.”
With a file from The Canadian Press