Premier Doug Ford planned to hold a $1,000 Zoom fundraiser for the provincial Progressive Conservative party later this week while Ontario battles against surging COVID-19 cases, but the party announced Tuesday afternoon the event has been postponed.
The premier — who has been noticeably absent from question period for the past two days following a widely-criticized news conference on Friday — was scheduled to hold the fundraiser for the Ontario PC party Thursday, joined by ministers Steve Clark and Lisa Thompson.
“Join us for a discussion with Ontario PC Party Leader Doug Ford on the issues facing our province during these challenging times and what our government is doing to help,” Ontario PC party said on its website.
Following considerable backlash, Christina Wramhed, director of communications for the Ontario PC Party said the event “has been postponed.”
In a brief statement that does not specify why the event was postponed, Wramhed said, “It’s important to note that the Ontario PC Party was the only political party in Ontario to suspend all fundraising efforts for six months in 2020.”
She pointed out that neither the Ontario Liberal Party nor the NDP suspended their fundraising efforts, “including an OLP fundraising event taking place tonight.”
Liberal MPP for Ottawa South John Fraser raised questions about the event at the legislature Tuesday, where the government faced continued pushback on its refusal to implement paid sick days.
“We’re in a crisis in Ontario,” Fraser said. “While ICU admissions continue to rise, the Premier’s priority this Thursday night is a $1,000-a-ticket fundraiser in the middle of a third wave. What planet is that okay on?”
WATCH | Liberal MPP raises questions about PC fundraiser amid COVID-19 pandemic:
Fraser continued, asking when the Premier would “follow the science, implement paid sick days and protect essential workers.”
In response, Conservative MPP for Markham-Stouffville Paul Calandra said the government has increased long-term care capacity as well as pay for personal support workers.
“What this Premier has been doing is making the investments so that we could tackle this virus head-on, and not only tackle it, but defeat it,” Calandra said.
He did not address plans for Ford’s fundraiser.
Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner also reacted to news of the fundraiser.
“I think it’s disgusting that the Premier’s holding fundraisers when he should be focused on combatting COVID. People are literally dying and they need the government to step up,” he said. “It’s just unbelievable.”
CBC News requested a response from the Premier’s office but was directed to the PC party. This story will be updated when a response is received.
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