After wrapping up a press briefing in which he casually mentioned the creation of an Ontario Space Force, the indefinite closure of Toronto’s Line 1 subway service as a way to save some ‘serious cashola,’ and subsidized ice cream for everyone in the province with a lactose intolerance, Doug Ford raised his arms over his head, nodded to his press secretary to roll the music, and began to sing.
“IIIIIIIIIIffff you’re happy and you know it clap your hands,” the premier intoned -poorly, badly, shoddily, and without shame – into the microphone, over the shouted questions of reporters desperate to know what exactly he meant when he said Queen’s Park was being relocated to Barrie. In response, loud clapping came from the back of the room, as taxpayer-funded PC staffers earned their hourly wage doing circle time with the boss.
Reporters voicing their (understandable) ire at not being told what the objective of a provincial space force might be – or how people are expected to commute into the core of downtown Toronto – then had their anger turned against them, as the premier blared belligerently on to the next line, requesting those gathered express their general delight by stomping their feet.
“Oh for fuck’s sake,” said CTV’s Colin D’Mello, clearly fed-up at having to sing these songs at work as well as home.
“If you’re happy and you know it and you really want to show it,” the premier sang flatly as he slowly backed out of the room, his voice cracking, the music skipping, and his staffers hiding their name tags. “If you’re happy and you know it, ennnnnd the question periooooood.”
Following Ford’s departure his press secretary, Ivana Yelich, led all those still present in a halting version of Hokey Pokey, while clearly wishing she’d paid more attention to that debate in first year Journalism Ethics regarding the appropriateness of answering questions with a ukulele, hand puppet, or toot on a wooden train whistle.
“She told us that the premier is a busy man with a whole apparatus of government to disassemble and only four years in which to dash the province’s hopes and dreams for progress on any meaningful front,” said Citynews’ Cynthia Mulligan, relating what was said by Yelich during a formally scheduled nap time.
“Additionally, she said that the premier asked her to tell us that we should take our left hands out, and then shake them all about. That we need to do the hokey pokey. That they’d like to see us turn ourselves around. It’s my belief that this is because Doug Ford doesn’t like questions, because questions require answers, and answers require having a whiff of a clue. And that is literally what this is all about.”