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Ontario Premier Doug Ford held back no punches when talking about violent offenders with poor mental health, whose symptoms prevent them from being held criminally responsible, stating that the public would be better off if the offenders were “dealt with in jail.”
The comments were made in reference to Zhebin Cong, who was charged with a fatal stabbing that took place in 2014, a crime that he was found not criminally responsible.
After receiving a 24-hour supervised leave, Cong fled the country.
It was said by the Ontario Review Board that Cong was a “significant threat to the safety of the public.”
Ford said he has “no sympathy” for such offenders, calling Cong an “animal” who “chopped up his roommate.”
“This person took a meat cleaver and hacked up his roommate,” Ford said.
“I’m supposed to be a bleeding heart and say let’s take care of them? I have zero sympathy for these people.”
Ford went on to say that he cares for people with “true mental illness,” but that any violent offenders should instead be sent to prison.
“We have to have tougher laws in this country, we have to put these people away. And if they have mental health issues they can be dealt with in jail. Simple as that.”
Ford’s comments caught some heat from opposition parties, specifically the New Democrats, calling the comments “irresponsible.”
“I never thought that I would ever hear the premier of a province describe those with mental illness as animals,” says NDP MPP Catherine Fife.
“When the premier of the province uses language like that, people who are watching and listening aren’t going to hear him describe just one person, they’re going to see themselves in those comments.”
In response, Ford said that people should “stop sympathizing with axe-wielding murderers and all this bleeding heart stuff,” Ford said.
“This person was a murderer.”