As if things couldn’t get more terrifying in Canada’s largest province, a new report suggests Premier Doug Ford, who has been widely rebuked for his leadership during the pandemic, does not know how to use a laptop.
Following a chaotic weekend of decisions that included Ford announcing and then walking back a ban on outdoor activities to be enforced by police, the premier has effectively gone dark. He hasn’t been available to media, wasn’t in the provincial legislature this week, and is reportedly self-isolating at his late mother’s home in Etobicoke after one of his staffers tested positive for COVID-19.
According to the Toronto Star, Ford’s isolation has presented a problem because he’s technologically incompetent.
“On Wednesday, Ford’s office was scrambling to get him a laptop computer and to teach him how to use it,” the Star reported.
The story also said Ford still uses a Blackberry Classic cellphone “so old that downloading attachments can be challenging.”
“The premier is so accustomed to the vintage 2014 smartphone that he has a stack of them and gets refurbished models from a Mississauga electronics shop for about $150 a pop,” the story said.
One may be wondering how Ford, 56, has gotten by in a pandemic that’s forced the government and millions of people to work online remotely. Perhaps you are also wondering how a leader who can’t use a laptop in 2021 can be expected to oversee a vaccine rollout that is also largely dependent on the internet. (Notably, many Canadians, particularly in Ontario, have been turning to the Twitter account Vaccine Hunters Canada for assistance finding appointments.)
At a press conference a week ago, Ford clapped back at the idea that the vaccine rollout in Ontario—which some have compared to the Hunger Games—has been confusing.
"Folks, it's very, very simple,” Ford said. “If I'm doing the math right, we're well over 6 million people that didn't find it confusing.”
A bold statement from a man who apparently can’t use a laptop.
Journalist Justin Ling, a Blackberry stalwart himself, tweeted concerns about potential security issues stemming from Ford’s use of old Blackberry phones.
“While I have fond memories of the BlackBerry Classic, it runs BlackBerry OS. The last time that OS was updated was 2018. I'm not sure it's possible to guarantee that phone's security,” Ling said.
VICE World News has reached out to Ford’s office for comment about his laptop proficiency and his phone’s security. We will update this story if they respond.
Ford is facing calls to resign from political opponents, physicians, and the media, as the rapid spread of the COVID-19 third wave, fueled by variants, has threatened to overwhelm the province’s healthcare system.
The Progressive Conservative government was repeatedly warned in February by the Science Advisory Table—an arm’s length group of experts—about the danger of a third wave, but chose to ignore that advice in favour of re-opening the province.
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