OFL: Doug Ford’s racist comments are a disgrace, he should apologize immediately

TORONTO, May 30, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) condemns the racist and inflammatory comments by Premier Doug Ford who suggested in a press confidence today–without evidence–that immigrants are to blame for the violence directed at a Jewish girls’ school in North York.

“Doug Ford’s racist comments are a disgrace, and he should apologize to all Ontarians immediately,” said OFL President Laura Walton. “In the wake of the tragic violence experienced by the Bais Chaya Mushka on Saturday, we need leaders who build unity, not division.”

At its 2023 convention, the OFL reaffirmed its long-standing opposition to all forms of racism and hate, including antisemitism and Islamophobia. Like other labour and community groups, the OFL condemns the targeting of the Bais Chaya Mushka and extends its solidarity to students, parents, and the wider Jewish community.

“Whoever committed those terrible acts must be held accountable, and no community of faith–Jewish, Muslim, or any other–should face violence like this,” added Walton. “It’s deplorable that Ford would exploit this tragedy and direct anger towards communities already feeling the brunt of racism and discrimination on a daily basis.”

This isn’t the first time Ford has engaged in racist scapegoating. In 2023, he suggested that immigrants were to blame for Ontario’s housing crisis, as he attempted to garner support for his Greenbelt land grab. In 2021, he suggested would-be immigrants were coming to Ontario “to collect the dole”–an outdated racist stereotype–and refused to apologize.

In 2020, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis, which sparked worldwide protests, Ford claimed that systemic anti-Black racism doesn’t exist in Canada.

“If this were a one-off, we might be more forgiving, but there’s a clear pattern to these kinds of harmful, racist comments,” said Jackie Taylor, OFL Executive Vice-President. “As a Black woman, I know how my community feels when we hear these words, and it hurts.”

The Ontario Federation of Labour represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. It is the largest provincial labour federation in Canada. Visit OFL.ca and follow @OFLabour on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.

For more information, please contact:

Jenny Sellathurai
Interim Director of Communications
Ontario Federation of Labour

jsellathurai@ofl.ca | 416-894-3456