Ford comments ‘ridiculous and insulting,’ says Mississauga entrepreneur Mohamad Fakih

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Published October 18, 2021 at 6:26 pm

Mississauga-based philanthropist and entrepreneur Mohamad Fakih says Premier Doug Ford proved himself unworthy of the office with the comments he made on Monday about immigrants.

Ford was in Tecumseh, Ont., for a campaign-style announcement to re-affirm the province’s commitment of $9.8 million for a new mega hospital in the area. The comments about immigrants came while the premier was addressing the skilled labour shortage in the provinces.

“If you think you’re coming to collect the dole and sit around, it’s not going to happen,” Ford said. “Go somewhere else.

“You come here like every other new Canadian. You work your tail off.”

In a Tweet, Fakih, who is the founder of the Middle Eastern Halal restaurant chain Paramount Fine Foods, said the comments were demeaning to new Canadians. Immigration is the main driver of Ontario’s population and economic growth.

“The premier of Ontario being ridiculous and insulting,” Fakih wrote. “Showing his true colours. Our province has been built up by hard-working immigrants; today, and for generations. Again @fordnation (the premier’s Twitter account) proves why he should not be premier.”

Fakih resettled in Canada in 1996, per his Wikipedia bio, after spending his formative years and early adulthood in Lebanon. Paramount Fine Foods grew out of his purchase of a struggling shawarma shop in 2006.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Fakih has been involved with handing out meals in the Mississauga community. Another recent illustration of Fakir’s good works was taking a lead role with launching the Mississauga Challenge to raise some $840,000 for the Mississauga Food Bank during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

Car dealer and Toronto Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia, a resettled Canadian from India, also supported the campaign. New York Knicks forward R.J. Barrett, who played some of his high school basketball at St. Marcellinus Secondary, also donated $100,000.

Imam Ibraham Hindy of Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre in Mississauga also pointed out Ford’s comments were off-base.

“That’s a lovely way to attract new immigrants, which the economy of this province deeply depends on,” Hindy wrote in a tweet.

Ontario New Democratic Party Leader Andrea Horwath, the official opposition leader in the legislater, called for an apology from the premier.

“He should apologize. But we’ve been here before. Sadly, this is who he is. Our diverse, welcoming province deserves better.”

Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca stated on Twitter that Ford’s comments were “callous.”

He added, “A Premier is supposed to unite Ontarians, not wedge us further apart. As a son of immigrants, I know first-hand how people like my parents helped to build Ontario.”

The next Ontario general election is on June 2, 2022. Ford’s Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario won all six Mississauga-area ridings during the 2018 election.

The city’s representation at Queen’s Park is comprised of Associate Minister of Digital Government Kaleed Rasheed (Mississauga East—Cooksville), Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction Nina Tangri (Mississauga—Streetsville), as well as Deepak Anand (Mississauga—Malton), Rudy Cuzzetto (Mississauga—Lakeshore), Natalia Kusendova (Mississauga Centre) and Sheref Sabaway (Mississauga—Erin Mills).

While the provincial electoral map is PC blue, the Liberal Party of Canada have  painted the federal one red. The Liberals swept all six Mississauga-area seat in last month’s federal election, helping Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s party win enough seats to form a minority government in a hung Parliament.

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