An Ontario man says he felt “intimidated” by a voicemail left by Premier Doug Ford telling him to be “careful” about who he calls “corrupt.”
Michael Cole posted a screenshot on Twitter Thursday of a text message he sent to Ford, which included polling support numbers for all political parties in Ontario.
That screenshot also showed a message that said, “How long did it take the provincial Liberals to become this unpopular? It’s almost like it’s a province-wide case of buyers remorse. (Hint: we wanted liberal policy without corruption, you gave us corruption with incompetent policy).”
Speaking to Global News Radio 640 Toronto Friday afternoon, Cole said he sent the text message because he was “angry.”
“I’ve been angry since the beginning of February when he made the [autism] announcement, and I want him to know I’m angry – a lot of us (are angry),” he said, adding he has two sons with autism and has been affected by the changes to the provincial program.
Cole posted the screenshot with the message, “Hi @fordnation, in case you misplace your phone.” He then tweeted shortly after, “I got a voice message response, will post it here tomorrow.”
On Friday, he posted the following 21-second voicemail from Ford.
“Hey Michael, it’s Doug Ford calling. Thanks so much for the message my friend. Uh, you know something? I love those calls. They make me laugh. But Michael, you got to be very, very careful when you tell someone that they’re corrupt. Very, very, very careful. OK, my friend? I’ll talk to you later.”
“My first reaction is don’t call me ‘my friend,’” Cole said in response to the voicemail.
“My second thought is I hate conflict. I do everything I can to avoid it, and this guy he just seems to be itching for a fight. I don’t want anything to do with this. Leave me alone, and let my children get what they need.”
On Twitter, Cole also explained another reason why he said what he did to Ford.
“To be clear (as I run out of chars in twitter FAST). I was trying to suggest maybe (attempting to) hire friends for major roles is a bad idea, particularly when cutting spending to all kinds of programs (schools, ASD, health care, etc.) that people want,” he tweeted.
Ford is known for both giving out his personal cellphone number and calling constituents who reach out.
Global News contacted Ford’s office to ask for comment on the voicemail. Spokesperson Ivana Yelich said in a statement that Ford was “referring to potential legal action.”
“Premier Ford is one of the most accessible politicians in the country. It’s widely known that he gives out his cell number wherever he goes,” the statement said.
“While Premier Ford is always happy and willing to speak with anyone who reaches out to him, as the Premier of Ontario, he takes any allegation of corruption very seriously and as he has stated many times before, no one can buy Doug Ford.”
LISTEN: Jeff McArthur speaks to Michael Cole about the text he sent to Premier Doug Ford and the voicemail he received in return.
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Cole said to him, the voicemail sounded like Ford wanted to file “civil action” against him or a “defamation” lawsuit.
The Ontario NDP released a statement in response to voicemail.
“For a guy who constantly accuses everyone who disagrees with him of corruption, Mr. Ford seems to have a pretty thin skin,” the statement said.
“If he doesn’t like what people are saying about him, maybe he should consider reversing his cruel cuts instead of calling folks in the middle of the night to complain about his polling numbers, leaving them feeling threatened.”
—With files from Oriena Vuong
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