Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservatives of Ontario spent part of the day on Tuesday explaining why a local candidate hired actors to pretend to be Conservative supporters outside of the first leaders’ debate. for elections in the province.
A group of people holding posters and wearing sweaters with slogans in support of Mr. Ford hailed the arrival of the Progressive Conservative leader at CityNews Studios in downtown Toronto on Monday night.
It was later revealed that the crowd was made up of actors hired by a Toronto candidate – a “mistake,” said a Ford spokeswoman.
In a statement, Melissa Lantsman claimed that Doug Ford has attracted record crowds since joining the Progressive Conservative leadership race.
According to the spokesperson, a local candidate – Meredith Cartwright, in Toronto Center – made the decision to call a casting agency, which was “useless and a mistake”. Such a situation will not happen again, she said.
Asked about the case at a press conference, Ford said he was unaware that actors had been paid to take on the role of supporters.
“We do not have to pay anyone. When we hold events, we are crowded, we are sold out, “he told reporters on Tuesday morning, adding that he would meet with Ms. Cartwright.
M me Cartwright, who relayed publications on social media showing pictures of the crowd outside the venue of the debate, said to have no comment to make when she was reached by telephone on Tuesday.
The other political parties were quick to come on the scene.
“We do not have to pay people to support us, we have a very enthusiastic group of volunteers. It’s funny in a way, but sad in a way, “said New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath.
Liberal campaign co-chair Deb Matthews attacked Ford.
“We expect everything related (Doug) Ford to be wrong. The stories are false, the facts that he advances are false and now we know that his supporters are wrong, “she argued.
The election campaign in Ontario officially kicks off Wednesday, ahead of the June 7 election.