While Ontario Premier Doug Ford is always a reliable source of often inadvertently hilarious one-liners during his press conferences, his nephew Michael Ford may have surpassed him with a very embarrassing slip while speaking to tens of thousands of people over the weekend.
The younger Ford, a former Toronto City Councilman, was elected MPP for York South-Weston in June and then appointed Ontario Minister for Citizenship and Multiculturalism by his uncle.
The premier received a slew of backlash for the decision, with many lamenting his nepotism and arguing that the role should be filled by anyone other than a white Ontario-born man who knows so little firsthand about the immigrant experience.
And Michael’s fumbling on Saturday didn’t exactly help his case.
I had no idea there were so many! Thanks for the clarification, Michael Ford. I dare anyone to tell me that you don’t deserve your role in government. https://t.co/kaQFEaBO9m
— Leslie (@LeslieF152) January 10, 2023
At a religious celebration in Ahmedabad, India – on a taxpayer-funded trip to the country – the minister misspoke during his speech about the “strong and vibrant” relationship between Ontario and India, saying he was “proud that Ontario is home to over 900 people from “India”, where he meant to say “900,000”.
It’s a seemingly harmless mistake anyone can make when reading to a large crowd, but of course social media thrives on it.
900 people from India! Ha ha https://t.co/YRe6tuyUiD
— Jesse James (@jesse_d_james) January 10, 2023
Many swear by the younger Ford’s intelligence and suitability for his position, and also by the elder Ford for selecting Michael for the post, although some would argue he was unqualified.
There are, of course, plenty of jokes about the much smaller places in Ontario where the minister could meet 900 people from India: living on their residential street, catching a bus in Mississauga or downtown Bramalea “literally this second.”
The Prime Minister made his tall adult gamer son Minister for Citizenship and flew him to India to say at a conference that we are proud to have 900 (nine hundred) Indian Ontarians.
— Sean Mcusername (@thesaurustext) January 10, 2023
There were also responses such as ‘It’s a shock to realize he must have been chosen for his looks’, ‘I know people make mistakes but OMG’ and ‘India sends its brightest to be ruled by our worst ‘, amid hundreds of replies, quoting tweets of a clip from the speech shared on Twitter last night.
And of course, there’s been a ton of Nepo baby commentary, as it seems everyone has just discovered the concept over the past few weeks.
Doug Ford’s nephew.
— TO Resident (@TO_Resident) January 10, 2023
Quite a few people point out, however, that Ford isn’t technically wrong since Ontario is home to more than 900 Indians, albeit many more.
And although he did not acknowledge and correct his mistake, he lost his place and began to read the same line again, recovering at the number which he correctly read as 900,000 the second time.
Unfortunately for the perhaps nervous Ford, it wasn’t the only mistake during his presentation; before quoting the 900 Ontario residents who are of Indian origin, he stated: “On behalf of Premier Ford and the Ontario government, we would like to extend a warm welcome [sic] Invite His Holiness to come to Toronto if possible.”