POLITICS
10/10/2018 06:46 EDT | Updated 14 hours ago

Ontario Premier Doug Ford Fans Rally After His 1st 100 Days In Office

The premier was greeted with chants of "Doug! Doug! Doug!"

Premier Doug Ford speaks to supporters at a rally celebrating his first 100 days in office in Etobicoke, Ont. on Oct. 9, 2018.
EMMA PALING/HUFFPOST CANADA
Premier Doug Ford speaks to supporters at a rally celebrating his first 100 days in office in Etobicoke, Ont. on Oct. 9, 2018.

Superfans of the Ford family — and a few of their more skeptical fans — packed a banquet hall to celebrate Ontario Premier Doug Ford's first 100 days in office on Tuesday night.

The premier was greeted with a standing ovation and chants of "Doug! Doug! Doug!" in his home borough of Etobicoke, Ont.

"We have an all-star team at Queen's Park, and we have an even better team outside of Queen's Park, and that's folks like you," Ford told the crowd. He gave a speech calling his first months in office, "100 days of action, action the likes of which Canada has never seen."

There were cheers when he mentioned that gas prices dropped by five cents, hoots when he said he cancelled Drive Clean and a full-out roar when he brought up his initiative to sell some cans of beer for $1.

EMMA PALING/HUFFPOST CANADA
Two men in matching "Team Ford" t-shirts attend a rally celebrating Premier Doug Ford's first 100 days in office in Etobicoke on Oct. 9, 2018.

"A new day has dawned in Ontario," the premier said.

John Wolwowicz, an Etobicoke resident, said he celebrated late into the night after Ford's election win on June 7. He loves everything about Ontario's new premier.

Ford's best move was getting rid of "that yoyo" at Hydro One, Wolwowicz said, referring to Mayo Schmidt.

The premier branded Schmidt, the power company's former CEO, the "Six Million Dollar Man" during the election campaign because he earned a $6.2-million salary last year. Schmidt resigned barely two weeks after Ford took office.

Earlier On HuffPost. Story Continues Below:

Wolwowicz said he's met Ford a number of times.

"I gave him a new nickname," he told HuffPost Canada. "Donald Trump Jr."

The U.S. president "is a leader," Wolwowicz said. "I wish we had someone like him," in federal office.

Not everyone at the rally was so keen on that comparison.

Rod Tapp, who was wearing an autographed Mayor Rob Ford t-shirt, said he's concerned about some of Ford's more heavy-handed tactics, which he called "Trumpism."

I gave him a new nickname. Donald Trump Jr.John Wolwowicz

There's no doubt more people are turning to right-wing politics around the world, Tapp said, but he hopes some more liberal aspects of Canadian society will remain.

Toronto is one of the most multicultural, tolerant places on Earth, Tapp said.

"I hope that never changes."

But he said the premier's "down-to-earth, grassroots" style speaks to a lot of people.

"He deserves his voice. He deserves to be listened to."

A huge crowd lined up for photos with the premier when his speech was over.

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Outside, flyers were slipped onto the hoods of cars in the parking lot, criticizing Ford's government for not going far enough in repealing the province's former health curriculum.

"Ontario's Conservative Premier Doug Ford rejected gender identity theory as 'Liberal ideology' while on the campaign trail and promises a full repeal and replacement of Liberal Sex Ed curriculum," the flyers said. "We know that the government has taken positive steps to repeal the sex-ed, but we also know that gender identity theory is still being taught to children."

The flyers were written in support of a petition by Parents As First Educators, a lobby group run by Ford's former Progressive Conservative leadership rival Tanya Granic Allen.

Ford repealed a health curriculum introduced by the former Liberal government in 2015, reverting back to lessons first introduced in 1998. The curriculum taught students that people identify and express their gender identity in diverse ways.

One attendee got out of her car to pull the flyer off her windshield and tossed it on the ground without reading it.

"What was it?" her passenger asked.

"Just the opposition," she said and drove away.

CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this article said flyers were distributed by PAFE. The flyers were distributed anonymously, in support of PAFE.