Ford says “people make mistakes” but that going out with symptoms is “like walking around with a loaded gun”
Premier Doug Ford was asked Saturday about Pelham Town Councillor Ron Kore’s continued attendance, both at council and his Fonthill Sobeys store, while exhibiting respiratory illness symptoms.
“It’s terrible what happened. First of all, my heart prayers go out to [late Councillor Mike Ciolfi’s] family,” Ford said at his daily COVID-19 media briefing. “People make mistakes, but folks, please, we’ve come so far.”
Ciolfi died April 12. While no cause of death has officially been given, he had previously been diagnosed with the coronavirus. Ciolfi sat approximately eight feet from Kore at Pelham Town Council’s March 23 meeting, with Kore exhibiting apparent respiratory illness symptoms. There is no evidence that Kore was the source of Ciolfi’s illness.
According to employees of the Fonthill Sobeys location that Kore managed, he also continued working at the store for weeks while displaying symptoms. A Sobeys corporate spokesperson confirmed on April 22 that he had tested positive for COVID-19. Kore has since been removed from his job “temporarily,” according to the spokesperson, while the company conducts an internal investigation.
Ford then turned Saturday’s answer into criticism of a group of “anti-shutdown” protesters outside of Queen’s Park in Toronto, before CTV reporter Nick Dixon followed up with a question about what defenses people have against authority figures like Kore—a manager of a retail outlet and an elected official —who appear to flout public health advisories.
“Call your public health, and if you really want to shame them, call the local media,” Ford said. “It’s just being irresponsible. If you have symptoms, it’s like walking around with a loaded gun in your hand.”
It’s just being irresponsible. If you have symptoms, it’s like walking around with a loaded gun in your hand.
Kore voted against Pelham’s COVID-19 insurance bylaw at council’s March 17 special meeting, asking CAO David Cribbs why Town staff were preparing for something “negative.”
The insurance bylaw allows staff to continue functioning in the event councillors are felled by the illness.
According to email provided to the Voice, Kore also insisted on attending the April 6 meeting of council in person, despite having the ability to do so electronically amid the pandemic. Ultimately he did not attempt to enter Town Hall, nor did he attend the meeting by teleconference.
Kore has ignored repeated requests for comment from multiple media outlets, including the Voice, but reportedly told CBC Hamilton last week that “there is another side to the story,” and that he would speak out after “everything settles down.” He did not reply to a request for comment on the Premier’s remarks.