“You can be a denarius, you can be an anti-masker. You can be anything. It is a democratic country. You can say whatever you want, but I just come here and tell you what I know, ”Ford said.
While the public generally supports the wearing of masks, there appears to be growing frustration with public health measures, particularly new lockdowns on businesses and restrictions on gatherings in Peel, Toronto and Ottawa.
In Ottawa, one of the hardest-hit cities in the country during Wave 2, regulations officers had to tighten enforcement of bans on major indoor parties, and the public transit service of the city started fining people for not wearing masks on buses and trains. Until this week, unmasked passengers were receiving a warning.
A recent poll conducted by Léger and the Association for Canadian Studies showed that support for wearing masks is growing in Canada. Eighty-three percent of respondents believe governments should order people to wear masks in all indoor public spaces.
This represents an increase of 16% from July.
Most skeptics have kept their protests online, suggesting the pandemic is being exaggerated by politicians, health officials and the media.
Ford said the decision to re-impose lockdowns on hotspots across the province was the most difficult decision he had to make.
“It’s easy to sit the quarterback. Some people say I should have done it sooner, others say I never should have done it … just open everything up and let everyone go wild, and I have to get the boat down in the middle of the lane and make the best decision I can, ”said Ford.
“There is no agenda. I’m the last guy in the world to accept this. I am here to protect the people of Ontario, to keep them safe.