Ontario Premier Doug Ford created quite a buzz on Friday when a bee entered his mouth and got down his throat.
Ford was taking questions from reporters in Dundalk, Ont., about the provincewide health-care staff shortage and the possibility of privatization when the bee flew into his mouth.
"Holy Christ, I just swallowed a bee," he said, coughing violently.
Members of the audience could be heard expressing their concern for Ford.
After taking a sip of water from a bottle, Ford made light of the situation, saying: "This is going to be played over and over again."
But the discomfort the premier was experiencing was visible.
"Sorry guys. The little bugger got away in there," he said.
Someone from the audience asked if he was all right to continue, to which Ford responded: "I'm OK. It's buzzing in there."
'Man, he went right down the hatch'
"Man, he went right down the hatch," he said, laughing.
Ford told reporters he's a strong believer in public health care, but his government is going to "get creative" when looking at how it could be delivered.
Ford said Friday that "everything is on the table" when asked if Ontario is considering further privatization of the health-care system.
"I'm not gonna do anything without consulting with the experts out there," he said. "There's one thing we'll guarantee: you'll always be covered by OHIP, not the credit card."
When asked if patients would have to pay anything if they had surgery at a private clinic, Ford said it would be "100 per cent" covered.
"We're never gonna waver from that," he said.
"Are we gonna get creative? Absolutely. As I mentioned, we just can't as a province keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result."
Earlier this week, Health Minister Sylvia Jones said the government is looking at all options to improve the health system, sparking fears of further privatization. She later said what is not under consideration is asking people to pay out of pocket for services currently covered by OHIP.
Severe shortage of nurses
Several emergency departments across the province have closed for hours or days this summer due to a severe shortage of nurses. The shortage has affected smaller rural hospitals more than larger urban ones.
Ford said his government is talking to health-care experts across the sector in an effort to figure out how to solve the staffing problem. But he and Jones have thus far refused to specify what options they are looking at.
The premier on Friday pointed to a private hernia surgery clinic that was grandfathered in when the health-care system became public as a good example of how the private sector can help.
NDP Health critic France Gélinas criticized the idea of further privatization.
"They'll bleed staff away from our public hospitals and urgent care centres, making the health care crisis much worse," she said in a written statement.
"If private surgery clinics accept your OHIP card for your procedure, they bill you for your room, the painkillers you take,
your meals, the physical therapy you need and more."
Bee stole the spotlight
As for the bee, who stole the spotlight Friday, Ford said: "This is a good one … I can't remember what we were talking about. I'll be rushing to the hospital to get this bee out of here."
It was not immediately clear if the premier indeed went to a hospital.
Later, he said the bee "is working hard building a hive down there."
"That sucker is still buzzing away," he said as the news conference ended.