Ontario Premier Doug Ford caused quite a stir on Friday when a bee entered his mouth and throat.
Ford was fielding questions from reporters in Dundalk, Ont., about the province-wide health workforce shortage and the possibility of privatization when a bee landed in his mouth.
“Holy Christ, I just swallowed a bee,” he said, coughing violently.
Listeners were heard expressing their concerns about Ford.
After taking a sip from a bottle of water, Ford made light of the situation, saying, “It’s played over and over again.”
But the discomfort the Prime Minister was experiencing was visible.
“Sorry guys. The little bugger got in there,” he said.
Someone in the audience asked if he was OK to continue, to which Ford replied, “I’m fine. It’s buzzing in there.”
“Man, he went right down the hatch”
“Man, he went right down the hatch,” he said with a laugh.
Whoah! Premier Ford swallowed a bee while taking Qs from the media. “I’m fine. He’s buzzing over there. Man, he went right down the hatch.”
Ford calls it a “classic” and that he’ll “howl” watching it on TV later. pic.twitter.com/q5nq3qqZNK
Ford told reporters that he strongly believes in public health care, but that his government plans to implement it with a “creative” look.
Ford said Friday that “everything is on the table” when asked if Ontario is considering further privatization of the health care system.
“I don’t do anything without consulting the experts there,” he said. “We guarantee one thing: You will always be covered by OHIP, not your credit card.”
When asked if patients would have to pay anything for surgery at a private clinic, Ford said it would be 100 percent covered.
“We never hesitate about it,” he said.
“Are we going to be creative? Absolutely. As I mentioned, we just can’t do the same thing as a province and expect a different result.”
Earlier this week, Health Minister Sylvia Jones said the government was considering all options to improve the health system, raising fears of further privatisation. He later said that what is not being considered is asking people to pay out-of-pocket for services currently covered by OHIP.
Big shortage of nurses
Several emergency departments across the province have been closed for hours or days this summer due to a severe shortage of nurses. The shortage has affected smaller rural hospitals more than larger urban hospitals.
Ford said his government was talking to health experts across the sector to find out how to solve the staffing problem. But he and Jones have so far declined to specify what options they are looking at.
The prime minister on Friday pointed to a private hernia surgery clinic, which started when the health system went public, as a good example of how the private sector can help.
NDP health critic France Gélinas criticized the idea of further privatization.
“They are draining workers from our public hospitals and urgent care centers, making the health care crisis that much worse,” he said in a written statement.
“When private surgery clinics accept your OHIP card for your procedure, they will bill you for your room, the pain medication you take,
your meals, necessary physical therapy, and more.”
Bee stole the spotlight
Regarding the bee that stole the spotlight on Friday, Ford said, “That’s good… I don’t remember what we talked about. I’m rushing to the hospital to get that bee out of here.”
It was not immediately clear whether the prime minister actually went to the hospital.
Later, he said the bee was “hard at work building a hive over there.”
“That shit’s still buzzing,” he said at the end of the news conference.