Some PCs amplify Ford’s apology on Twitter — but more stay mum

By Alan S. Hale April 26, 2021

Twice as many PC MPPs tweeted about the importance of Earth Day last Thursday than voiced support for Premier Doug Ford‘s leadership after he apologized for his government’s widely panned Covid restrictions that same day.

“This man has led during unprecedented times with his heart on his sleeve,” tweeted PC MPP Lindsey Park.

Ford’s parliamentary assistant, PC MPP Will Bouma, added the premier “is there before me and still at it when I go home. He’s there for every single Ontarian.”

Aside from Park and Bouma, six other PC MPPs praised Ford’s leadership, work ethic and emotions last week, according to Queen’s Park Today’s tally. That includes Prabmeet Sarkaria, Lisa MacLeod, Robin Martin, Michael Parsa, Parm Gill and Kaleed Rasheed.

Another six government MPPs retweeted those messages (or similar ones from premier’s office staff), bringing the total to 14, while 28 caucus members did the same about Earth Day.

Fourteen other PCs amplified the video of Ford’s press conference without comment.

That leaves 60 per cent of the PC’s 71-seat caucus who were silent about the premier’s mea culpa on Twitter.

The support paled in comparison to past coordinated social media efforts by the PC caucus, such as in 2019 when PC caucus members posted photos of themselves at gas pumps warning drivers to fill up before the federal carbon tax kicked in, as well as another show of support for expanded beer and wine sales in convenience stores.

In those cases, most, if not all, of cabinet and caucus posted photos and videos that were on message.

Meanwhile, a new Angus Reid poll released Friday showed 69 per cent of Ontarians believe the third wave of the pandemic was “preventable” and 43 per cent believe the provincial government is primarily to blame for not preventing it.

Two-thirds of Ontarians believe Ford is doing a “poor” job managing the pandemic, third only to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, at 69 per cent, and Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, at 68 per cent.