Thousands of supporters gather in Vaughan for Ford Fest 2018

Thousands of supporters gather in Vaughan for Ford Fest 2018
Ford Fest draws thousands to hear Ont. premier tout accomplishments
VAUGHAN, Ont. – Supporters of Ontario’s premier are expected to flock to the grounds of a recreation centre in Vaughan, Ont., tonight for this year’s Ford Fest.

Event organizers say the annual barbecue is expected to be bigger than ever with Doug Ford as premier.

Historically, the event has taken place at Ford’s mother’s home in west-end Toronto, but Tory spokesman Marcus Mattinson says the Vaughan venue was chosen to host thousands.

He says the barbecue will be the same as previous years with free food, music and entertainment, but it will be on a much larger scale.

“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.”

Mattinson says protesters are anticipated to show up, but he says there’s not much organizers can do about them and declined to comment further about the event’s security.

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Ford Fest has been running for over 20 years and originated as a family barbecue in the backyard of the home of Ford’s mother, Diane Ford.

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.

At last year’s event – before Ford ran for and ultimately won his party’s leadership and the provincial election – he announced his intention to run for mayor in this year’s election.

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.

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

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.

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 Fords mothers home.

“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.”

This years version was held on the grounds of a recreation centre in Vaughan, Ont., and marked Fords 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.

Historically, the event has taken place at Ford’s mother’s home in west-end Toronto, but Tory spokesman Marcus Mattinson says the Vaughan venue was chosen to host thousands.

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 "theyll be OK." The Special Investigations Unit is looking into the death of a 32-year-old man who died in the incident.

Mattinson says protesters are anticipated to show up, but he says there’s not much organizers can do about them and declined to comment further about the event’s security.

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

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"The sad truth is Kathleen Wynne and her Liberals destroyed our provinces 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, thats each month, just on the interest of the debt alone."

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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 governments budget and projections, and found greater deficits than had been reported.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford poses for a selfie with a supporter after speaking at Ford Fest in Vaughan, Ontario, on Saturday September 22, 2018. Event organizers say the annual barbecue is expected to be bigger than ever with Doug Ford as premier. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Chris Young)

Toronto may be in an uproar over Doug Fords out-of-the-blue decision to cut city council in half and redraw the ward map in the middle of an election campaign. Former Ontario premiers of all three major parties may have condemned him for threatening to trigger a rarely used override clause in the Constitution to ram his plan through. But on a Saturday night up in Vaughan, the sprawling Toronto exurb north of the city, its alllll good.

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Anna Germain says she loves Mr. Ford for killing that Liberal energy-pricing regime. Its not our driving and our auto emissions that are changing the climate, “its the sun – the sun affects our environment more than anything else. If former U.S. vice-president Al Gore – Al “Bore, she calls him – is so worried about global warming and rising sea levels, why did he buy a house on the ocean in California. Answer that.