Ontario Premier Doug Ford says his daughter’s stag and doe party was a “private family situation’ that was cleared by the province’s integrity commissioner.
Ford’s comments come a day after Global News published a report saying developers, described as “personal friends” of Ford, attended a stag and doe party for his daughter’s wedding in early August.
One source told Global News the invitation to the party came with a request to make a donation to the couple of up to $1,000, and seemed “very dodgy” at the time.
Another source who said they received an invitation dubbed the party a “pay-for-play” event and questioned the ethics of attending the party.
Asked about the stag and doe by reporters at an unrelated press conference on Friday, Ford said the party was a personal matter, adding that his daughter and her husband are “private citizens.”
“I know the difference of what we should and shouldn’t do,” Ford said. “Our family has been in politics for 30 years, we know tens of thousands of people, and I went to the integrity commissioner — he cleared it 1,000 per cent, not 999, (but) 1000 per cent”
Ford called the questions on the matter “ridiculous.”
“This is nothing, in my opinion, that should involve my daughter that is just not involved in politics,” he said. “So I appreciate you keep asking, but anyways … it’s a private family situation and that’s all it is.”
The province’s integrity commissioner has determined that since the premier said he had “no knowledge of gifts” and that there was “no discussion of government business,” Ford was in the clear.
“The Commissioner issued an opinion that there was nothing to indicate non-compliance with the Members’ Integrity Act related to these events,” the commissioner said in a statement to Global News.
However, asked by reporters on Friday why developers had been invited to the personal event, Ford said his family has an “open door policy at our home.”
“We know tens of thousands of people — people I’ve known for 30 years,” he said.
Ford said when they have an event at the home, he doesn’t “ask for a list of names.”
“Everyone’s welcome to the Ford family home any time we have an event,” he continued.
Ford did not disclose the names of the developers who attended the party, saying only that he knows “hundreds of developers” and hundreds of “private-sector folks.”
“I know hundreds of health-care workers and police officers,” he continued. “And I believe in growing the province. I believe in getting builders here. Just imagine if we didn’t have builders that go out and build homes and build businesses and build infrastructure. We wouldn’t be in the spot that we are here in Ontario.”
— with files from Global News’ Isaac Callan and Colin D’Mello