Thousands attend this year's Ford Fest with Doug Ford as premier

Thousands attend this year's Ford Fest with Doug Ford as premier

VAUGHAN, Ont. — Ontario Premier Doug Ford touted his new government's accomplishments and railed against his predecessor as he addressed cheering crowds on Saturday night at an annual Toronto event known as Ford Fest.

The gathering, which has been running for more than 20 years, originated as a family barbecue and used to be held in the backyard of Ford's mother's home.

This year's version was held on the grounds of a recreation centre in Vaughan, Ont., and marked Ford's first since his Progressive Conservatives won a majority in the spring election.

Ford told those gathered at the event that he would be visiting Ottawa on Sunday to survey the damage from a tornado that hit the area on Friday. He said the province would be doing whatever it takes to help those affected get back on their feet.

Ford also said he had visited two police officers injured in an exchange of gunfire with a man at a Burlington, Ont., gas station on Saturday and told the crowd "they'll be OK." The Special Investigations Unit is looking into the death of a 32-year-old man who died in the incident.

The premier largely used the event to highlight his new government's accomplishments and criticize the previous Liberal regime of former premier Kathleen Wynne over green energy projects, cap and trade and the provincial deficit.

"The sad truth is Kathleen Wynne and her Liberals destroyed our province's finances," Ford said, eliciting a chorus of boos from the crowd.

"Fifteen years of the worst financial scandals and mismanagement in the history of Ontario," he said. "We are spending over $1 billion each month, that's each month, just on the interest of the debt alone."

Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli said Friday the province will have to make sacrifices as it grapples with a newly revised $15-billion deficit.

Fedeli said the province had chosen to adopt the accounting practices used by the auditor general in reviewing the recently defeated Liberal government's budget and projections, and found greater deficits than had been reported.

 

The Canadian Press