Toronto

Doug Ford touts accomplishments at Ford Fest amid dismal poll numbers

Ontario Premier Doug Ford touted his government's accomplishments and slammed his Liberal predecessors in a campaign-style speech at an event north of Toronto on Saturday.

Annual event comes as Tories' support slumps, premier's popularity plummets

Scores of people stand in line for Saturday's Ford Fest in Markham, Ont. (Mike Crawley/CBC)

Ontario Premier Doug Ford touted his government's accomplishments and slammed his Liberal predecessors in a campaign-style speech at an event north of Toronto on Saturday.

Ford Fest, an annual barbecue that used to be held in the backyard of the premier's family home, was co-hosted by the Progressive Conservative Party this year.

It was still free and open to the public, but unlike previous years, this year's gathering required attendees to register for tickets and came with the caveat that anyone could be denied a ticket.

This year's event, held at the Markham Fairgrounds, comes as the Tories slump in the polls and Ford's personal popularity has taken a hit following a budget that contained many unpopular cuts.

When Ford took the stage a couple hours into the evening, he told the crowd that his government had accomplished more in its first year in office than any government in Ontario history.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford told the crowd at Ford Fest on Saturday that his government had accomplished more in its first year in office than any government in Ontario history. (Mike Crawley/CBC)

He also rolled out one of his late brother's favourite lines, saying that his opponents were trying to "keep the gravy train going," just as they did under the previous Liberal government.

Controversy dogged Ford after the event last year as he was pressured to distance himself from Faith Goldy, a Toronto woman known for her extreme views, who posed for a photograph with him.

Ford ultimately said he condemned hate speech, anti-Semitism and racism in all forms, whether it comes from Goldy or anyone else.

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