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Gravy sent to Premier Doug Ford briefly shuts down Ontario government building

Click to play video: 'Cost of premier’s office surges under Doug Ford'
Cost of premier’s office surges under Doug Ford
RELATED: The cost and size of the premier's office in Ontario has ballooned under Premier Doug Ford. Despite promising to be careful with public money, Ford's office is much larger and more expensive than his Liberal predecessor Kathleen Wynne. Global News' Queen's Park Bureau Chief Colin D'Mello explains – Apr 2, 2024

Parts of an Ontario government building were briefly shut down and evacuated on Tuesday after a suspicious package sent to Premier Doug Ford turned out to be a package of powdered gravy.

Toronto police said they were called to Queen’s Park in downtown Toronto just after 11:30 a.m. after a suspicious package was found.

Investigators said staff were evacuated from a “small area” of a government building while the package was looked at. Officers at the scene determined the packet filled with powder was “powdered gravy” that had been sent to the premier.

The premier’s office told Global News that “a package was delivered containing a suspicious substance to the fourth floor of the Whitney Block.”

The building sits directly to the east of the legislature and houses a range of government offices.

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Global News sent questions to Sergeant-at-Arm Tim McGough, who heads Ontario’s Legislative Protective Service, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Ford, who now presides over the most expensive Premier’s Office in provincial history, has been accused of operating his own gravy train — a term Ford’s brother Rob Ford used as a campaign slogan battle cry in 2010 and which propelled him into the Toronto mayor’s office in a landslide victory.

The Premier’s Office under Ford has grown in size and cost over the last five years and now includes 48 staff earning more than $100,000 a year. The total cost of salaries over $100,000 in his office grew from $2.9 million in 2019 to $6.9 million in 2023.

Recently, Ontario Liberal MPP John Fraser brought a can of gravy into the legislative chamber in a stunt designed to drive home the point.

“I did that to remind him that he more than doubled the staff in his office to 48 people who are all on the Sunshine List, all of whom make more than the median family income in Ontario,” Fraser said in early April.

“I think that’s obscene.”

On Tuesday morning, Fraser said someone had told him they had also sent gravy to the premier.

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“If people are spontaneously sending the premier packages of gravy, maybe the gravy train’s starting to stick,” he said.

Fraser later added that people who want to send the message could send the premier’s office an “email, a letter or take a picture with a packet of gravy” instead of actually sending a physical package.

The government building reopened after a brief closure and staff were able to return to work on Tuesday.

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