While Doug Ford was previously politically overshadowed by his brother and Toronto mayor, Rob Ford, he is now setting the stage to run for the head of the Ontario Progressive Conservative party.
The Tories have been left without a leader after accusations of sexual misconduct led to the resignation of Patrick Brown last month. The party is now scrambling without a leader just months before a provincial election.
If Doug Ford wins, he will face Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne and NDP leader Andrea Horwath in the upcoming Ontario elections.
But before that larger political battle, Ford will have to win the helm of the Conservatives.
Currently, the interim leader of the Tories is Vic Fideli, who was chosen the day after Brown's resignation. Brown has been accused of sexual misconduct, allegations that arguably gained momentum under the massive political movement that is #MeToo. He has declared himself innocent but stepped down anyway on January 26th.
Election day in Ontario is June 7, 2018, although campaigning doesn't officially start until May.
Ford is holding a rally this Saturday to kick off his campaign. Fideli notwithstanding, Ford has been the first to announce his political intentions and aspirations.
I had misjudged Doug Ford’s political ambitions and I doubt I was alone in making the assumption that he would keep the Ford legacy afloat by challenging John Tory for mayor of Toronto.
Doug Ford had already attempted to win the mayoral vote in 2014 and failed in his legacy bid.
His brother, Rob Ford, caught international attention for his behaviour as Toronto mayor. I’m sure if #MeToo had been a campaign back then, he would be on the radar. I'm 100% sure, in fact.
This includes the social and political truth that Rob Ford was smoking crack and was most likely addicted to alcohol. He reportedly drank to access on numerous occasions while at City Hall or out in the community. This behaviour led to international embarrassment. I’m not sure yet if his brother’s bad behaviour will impact the older Ford's campaign. Doug Ford seems much more buttoned-up than his brother.
And in the world of politics, where any publicity -- good or bad -- equals important branding power, Doug Ford might be able to leverage his name as political capital.
As reported in the Toronto Star, "Ford says it’s time to wrest control of the party from 'elites' and speak up for people he feels have been shortchanged by Wynne’s government."
The race for leader of the Tories will be a five-week timeline of frenetic activity as the Conservatives begin the process of voting to choose a new leader on March 2, with the final result revealed on March 10th.
Image: Wikimedia Commons.
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