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Doug Ford

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The Honourable
Doug Ford
MPP
Ford with supporter (cropped).jpg
Ford in 2018
26th Premier of Ontario
Assumed office
June 29, 2018
Monarch Elizabeth II
Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell
Deputy Christine Elliott
Preceded by Kathleen Wynne
Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
Assumed office
June 29, 2018
Preceded by Kathleen Wynne
Leader of the
Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario
Assumed office
March 10, 2018
Preceded by Vic Fedeli (ad interim)
Member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament
for Etobicoke North
Assumed office
June 7, 2018
Preceded by Shafiq Qaadri
Toronto City Councillor
In office
December 1, 2010 – November 30, 2014
Preceded by Rob Ford
Succeeded by Rob Ford
Constituency Etobicoke North (Ward 2)
Personal details
Born Douglas Robert Ford
(1964-11-20) November 20, 1964 (age 53)
Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada
Political party Progressive Conservative
Spouse(s) Karla Middlebrook
Relations
Children 4 (including Krista)
Father Doug Ford Sr.
Residence Humberwood, Etobicoke, Toronto
Occupation Businessperson, politician

Douglas Robert Ford (About this sound listen) (born November 20, 1964) is a Canadian businessman and politician who is the 26th and current Premier of Ontario since June 29, 2018, following the 2018 Ontario general election and Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario since March 10, 2018.

Ford was Toronto City Councillor for Ward 2 Etobicoke North from 2010 to 2014 at the same time that his brother, Rob Ford, was Mayor of Toronto. Their father, Doug Ford Sr., co-founded Deco Labels and Tags, a printing business operating in Canada and the United States, and was a Member of Provincial Parliament from 1995 to 1999. The business is now owned by Doug Jr. and his brother, Randy.

Ford ran for the 2014 Toronto mayoral election, where he placed second behind John Tory. In March 2018, Ford won the Ontario PC leadership race and was named as the party's candidate in Etobicoke North. He led the PC Party to a majority government in the general election held on June 7, 2018. Ford was appointed as the 26th Premier of Ontario by Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell on June 29, 2018.[1]

Early life and career

Ford was born in Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada, the second of four children of Doug Bruce and Ruth Diane (née Campbell) Ford.[2][3] His paternal grandparents were English immigrants.[4] He attended Scarlett Heights Collegiate Institute.[5]

In the 1990s, Ford became involved in the running of Deco Labels and Tags, a business co-founded by his father in 1962.[6][7] The company makes pressure-sensitive labels for plastic-wrapped grocery products.[8] Doug Jr. became president of the company in 2002, and was responsible for the company's expansion into Chicago. Nearing his death, his father divided up the company leaving 40% to Doug Jr., 40% to Randy and 20% to Rob. In 2008, Doug Jr. launched the purchase of Wise Tag and Label in New Jersey and fired Wise Tag's manager. Former Deco employees suggest that the company was well-managed under Doug Jr and that he was well-liked in Chicago, but that the company declined under Randy's leadership after Doug Jr. entered politics in 2010.[9][7] As of 2011, Ford and his mother were directors of the company, managed by his brother Randy.[8][10]

Ford's first involvement in politics came when Doug Holyday approached Deco to print "For mayor" stickers for signs for his 1994 campaign for mayor of Etobicoke. Ford took it upon himself to canvass for Holyday.[11] He then assisted in his father's campaigns as a PC candidate for MPP in 1995 and 1999.[12]

Municipal politics

On October 25, 2010, Ford was elected as councillor to Toronto City Council in Ward 2. He succeeded his brother, Rob, who ran successfully for Mayor of Toronto. Upon election, Doug Ford announced that he would donate his $100,000 annual salary to community organizations.[13]

Doug Ford in 2011

As a city councillor, Ford voted to privatize garbage pickup west on Yonge Street, declare the Toronto Transit Commission an essential service, reduce the office budget of city councillors, and eliminate the vehicle registration tax.[14]

Boards and agencies

While on city council, Ford served on the board of Build Toronto,[15] an arms-length city body responsible for developing and selling city land. He was also a director of the Canadian National Exhibition, and served on the Budget Committee, the Civic Appointments Committee and the Government Management Committee at Council.[16]

Ford was a member of the board of Toronto Transit Infrastructure Limited, a corporation set up to finance a Sheppard Avenue subway extension, which Council later cancelled. In 2011, Ford promoted an alternative plan for the Port Lands district of Toronto, including a monorail, a boat-in hotel, the world's largest Ferris wheel and a mega-mall.[17] The plan was ridiculed in the media and council voted it down—including by members of the mayoral executive committee.[18]

Other events while councillor

Ford caused controversy after revealing that his brother Rob would be served a subpoena if Rob's friend and driver Alexander Lisi went to court over charges of extortion.[19] Ford commented that the subpoena was in "payback" of Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair not getting a contract renewal with the Toronto Police Service, saying "This is why we need a change at the top", in regards to Blair's contract.[20] Blair filed a defamation lawsuit, demanding a written apology in exchange for dropping the suit. Ford apologized verbally and then later apologized and retracted the comments in writing.[21]

An investigative report by The Globe and Mail published in May 2013 alleged that Ford sold hashish at James Gardens for several years in the 1980s,[22][23] based on interviews with anonymous sources.[24] Ford, who had never been charged with an offence, denied the allegations[25] and accused the newspaper of unfairly targeting his brother, then-Mayor Rob Ford. The newspaper defended its report and its use of anonymous sources at an Ontario Press Council hearing,[23][26] which dismissed complaints against the newspaper and found that its coverage was "fair and ethical".[27] Ford said at the time that he planned to sue the newspaper for libel.[28] When asked in a 2018 interview why he had not sued, he replied that he had decided a lawsuit would be a "waste of time".[29]

Ford opposed a house for developmentally disabled youth in his ward, saying the home had "ruined the community".[30]

Aspirations for higher office and 2014 mayoral candidacy

Doug Ford at a 2014 parade

In June 2013, Ford announced that he would not run for re-election as councillor in the next Toronto election, scheduled for 2014: "I won't be running next time, at least down here I won't be running, I'll be running away from this place in 16 months", expressing his frustration with municipal politics.[31] It was speculated at the time that Ford may be a Progressive Conservative (PC) candidate for a future Ontario election, or interested in the leadership of the Progressive Conservatives.[32] On February 20, 2014, after meeting with Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak, Ford announced that he would not be a candidate in the next provincial election, which was called for June 12, 2014, so that he could focus on his brother's re-election campaign. Ford added that he did intend to be a candidate in a subsequent provincial election, saying: "The timing right now just doesn't work."[33]

After his brother Rob Ford entered drug rehab in May 2014, Doug Ford commented that he would not rule out running for mayor.[34] Rob Ford returned from rehab and continued his campaign for mayor, but withdrew after he was diagnosed with an abdominal tumour and hospitalized. Doug Ford then entered the mayoral campaign in the last hour before the nomination deadline on September 12, 2014.[35] Comments Ford made during the campaign received criticism for alleged bigotry, such as misogyny and antisemitism, and critics accused him of conflict of interest and of drug dealing in the past.[36] Though voters viewed the brothers as having the same ideological stance and gave them similar levels of support,[37] Rob's drug scandal received little attention with regard to Doug's campaign.[38]

Ford's campaign got the attention of Last Week Tonight's John Oliver who closed an episode begging Torontonians to vote for Doug Ford for the world's amusement.[39] Doug Ford maintained the support that Rob had in the polls, and made no significant ground against frontrunner John Tory, but maintained his lead over Olivia Chow. Ford lost the election to Tory, having 34% of the support compared to Tory's 40%. Ford's campaign was fined $11,950 for placing 478 illegal lawn signs during the campaign, including placing signs on the Don Valley Parkway, the Gardiner Expressway, and on civic buildings and parks.[40]

Following his unsuccessful mayoral candidacy, there was speculation that Ford would become a candidate for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. Ford told reporters: "It's on the table, I would really consider it", and added: "Our campaign is ready to go. Our people are itching to get involved. We are miles ahead of the other candidates."[41] On November 27, 2014, Ford announced that he would not be a candidate for the position and endorsed the candidacy of family friend Christine Elliott.[42]

Integrity Commissioner ruling against Ford

In December 2016, the City of Toronto's integrity commissioner concluded that Ford broke the city's code of conduct when he was a councillor finding that Ford improperly used his influence in municipal matters pertaining to two companies that were clients of his family's company. Integrity Commissioner Valerie Jepson ruled that: "Councillor Ford took no steps to establish clear lines of separation between his responsibilities as a member of Council and his duties as a principal of Deco."[43]

Since Ford was no longer a councillor by the time the ruling was issued, the commissioner did not recommend any sanctions for Ford.[44]

Cancelled 2018 Toronto mayoral campaign

On September 9, 2017, Ford announced at his family's annual barbecue that he would run for Mayor of Toronto in the 2018 election, saying "this one's for you, Robbie", referring to his younger brother Rob who had died the previous year.[45] Ford said that his opponent, John Tory, was "all talk and broken promises".[46] On February 1, 2018, Ford announced that he no longer planned to run for mayor that year because he intended to focus entirely on his campaign for PC leader.[47]

Provincial politics

2018 Progressive Conservative leadership campaign

Ford for Leader
Candidate Doug Ford
Affiliation Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario
Status Won
Headquarters Toronto
Slogan Strong Party, Strong Ontario
Website fordforleader.ca

Following the sudden resignation of Patrick Brown on January 25, 2018, the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario announced a new leader would need to be chosen before the 2018 Ontario general election in June. Ford was the first candidate to announce, on January 29, that he would seek the leadership of the party.[48][49] On January 31, 2018, Ford announced he would seek the PC nomination in Etobicoke North and run for the seat in the 2018 election.[50] He was one of the four official candidates running for the PC leadership along with Christine Elliott, Caroline Mulroney, and Tanya Granic Allen.[51]

Ford promised to represent the interests of Northern Ontario in Queen's Park. He called his opponents "insiders" and "political elites", who did not represent the interests of the residents of Northern Ontario like he could. Ford pledged several northern-focused policy initiatives including moving forward with resource development in the Northern Ontario Ring of Fire and reinstating the Ontario Northland Railway's Northlander train service.[52]

Ford called the Ontario health care system "broken" while relating the hospital experience of his brother Rob. He explained that Rob fell while being guided to a chair, and as the hospital was understaffed Doug had to rush down eleven floors to find security guards to help. He stated that the province should support transportation to allow Northern Ontarians to travel quickly and easily to the south to receive medical care and should increase provincial support for Ontario's small and medium-sized hospitals.[52][53]

Polling results ahead of the leadership ballot were mixed. A February Ipsos/Global News poll found that Ford had the most support of all the PC Leadership candidates in Toronto and would beat the Liberals in the city by nine points, but a Mainstreet poll showed him doing only marginally better than the other PC candidates except Patrick Brown, and a Forum Research poll suggested he would have less support than the other candidates.[54]

On March 10, Ford won the PC leadership on the third ballot. The results were too close to call and there was a dispute over whether some votes were allocated to the correct electoral districts, so the announcement was not be made at the originally scheduled convention. A news conference was held later that night after a recount was completed. Elliott conceded the next day and endorsed Ford as leader.[51]

On March 27, 2018, Ford was named the party's candidate in Etobicoke North.[55]

2018 Ontario general election

Ford with Andrew Scheer, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

In March 2018, the Liberals tabled a pre-election budget in the provincial legislature which promised billions of dollars in new spending for free childcare and expanded coverage for dental care but replaced the government's previous balanced budget with a $6.7 billion deficit projected to last until 2024–2025.[56] Ford called the budget a "spending spree".[57] He said he would condense the Conservative platform adopted under former leader Patrick Brown, reducing "about ten percent of [it]",[58] into a five-point plan focusing on health, education, creating jobs, getting rid of the province's cap-and-trade program for carbon emissions, and reducing electricity rates.[59][60]

Ford was critical of the sex education components of the Ontario health curriculum which was updated in 2015, and stated that he believed it needed to be reviewed.[61][62] He suggested that minors should be required to consult their parents before obtaining an abortion, and indicated he would allow the introduction of a private member's bill requiring parental consent.[63] Liberal campaign co-chair Deb Matthews accused Ford of wading into "divisive social conservative issues" with his remarks.[64]

In regards to job creation, Ford said he would revive manufacturing in Ontario by easing regulations, cutting taxes, and ensuring competitive electricity rates.[65] Ford criticized the Liberal government for not proceeding quickly enough to develop the Northern Ontario Ring of Fire, saying that he'd get on a bulldozer himself if necessary.[66][67] Northern Ontario newspaper The Chronicle-Journal criticized Ford's remarks as being "simplistic" in regards to Indigenous land claims and ensuring Indigenous communities receive a share of any economic gains.[68]

To reduce electricity rates, Ford's plan included redirecting the province's dividends from partial ownership of Hydro One to subsidize market electricity rates, as well as absorbing the cost of conservation programs currently paid for by consumers, at an estimated cost of $800 million per year.[69] Ford also attacked Hydro One CEO Mayo Schmidt, calling him "Kathleen Wynne's $6-million dollar man" in reference to his reported annual salary, and called on the utility's board of directors to resign.[70] Ford vowed to fire them all if elected, although PCPO energy critic Todd Smith later clarified that the government cannot dismiss Hydro One's CEO directly.[71]

Ford announced at an April 3 rally in Hamilton, Ontario that if elected his government would allow Hamilton City Council to reallocate the $1.3 billion allocated for the city's proposed rapid transit system to roads or other infrastructure.[72] Hamilton mayor Fred Eisenberger responded saying that city council had already decided the issue and that cancelling the LRT would mean $100 million would "be thrown away".[73] Ted McMeekin, a local Liberal MPP, criticized Ford's announcement saying "He paints himself as a responsible fiscal person but sees nothing wrong with writing a blank cheque for $1.2 billion."[73]

In early April, the CBC published their analysis of aggregate polls showing that Ford and the Progressive Conservatives were ahead of the other parties averaging 42.1% support, compared to 27.2% for the governing Liberals, 23.4% for the NDP and 5.7% for the Greens[74] and with 11 Liberal MPPs announcing they would not be running for re-election or having already resigned their seats in the months leading up to the election.[75]

Ford and the PC Party received the endorsement of former Toronto mayor Mel Lastman and former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion. In explaining her choice not to support Kathleen Wynne's Liberals, McCallion said "As mayor, I never ran the city based on debt. I know the real Doug Ford. He's hardworking, he cares about people of all ages and can be trusted."[76] In the media, Ford was compared to U.S. President Donald Trump.[68][77][78] The Guardian described Ford as a "businessman turned anti-establishment politician", a "son of a wealthy entrepreneur" who "rails against elites" and "often shuns expertise", while noting a sharp difference with Trump by pointing out that during his 2014 Toronto mayoral campaign "Ford drummed up strong support among some of the city’s most diverse neighbourhoods, suggesting his populist touch resonates with immigrants and racialised minorities who have traditionally self-identified as disenfranchised".[77] Ford rejected the comparisons while praising some of Trump's policies.[79]

Ford led the PC Party to a majority government in the general election held on June 7, 2018, taking 76 of 124 seats in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario,[80] including his own riding of Etobicoke North.[81] Ford had been PC Leader for less than 100 days when his party won the election.[82]

Premier of Ontario

Ford was sworn in as Premier on June 29, 2018, incorporating a ceremony outdoors on the lawn of Queen's Park.[83] Ford is the first newly-elected MPP to take office as premier since Mitch Hepburn did so in 1934.[84]

Ford announced a salary and hiring freeze for Ontario civil servants before being sworn in. After announcing his cabinet, Ford hired Rueben Devlin, former PC Party president and a Ford family friend, as a health-care advisor at a salary of CA$350,000 plus expenses, more than Ford's own salary of CA$208,974.[85][86] After the government was sworn in, Ford announced the end of the cap and trade program introduced by the Liberals in 2017, part of Ford's promise to lower gasoline prices by 10 cents per litre.[87] The end of the cap and trade program also meant rebates for electric vehicles funded through the program were cancelled.[88] Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that provinces that do not adopt a carbon pricing mechanism by September 1, 2018 will be subject to a federal carbon tax of $20/tonne starting in January 2019.[89] Analysts have suggested that the province will have to refund an estimated CA$3 billion in carbon credits purchased under the cap and trade program.[90] The Ford government also cancelled the Green Ontario Fund residential rebate program which included a CA$100 million fund for public school repair, free prescriptions to youth 24 and under, and an initiative to add indigenous peoples content to school curriculum.[91]

On July 11, 2018, Ford announced that Ontario's health curriculum including sexual education components, updated by the previous government in 2015, would be reverted to the 1998 curriculum before the next school year.[92] On the same day, July 11, the board of Hydro One resigned, as well as CEO Mayo Schmidt whom Ford had dubbed the "$6-million man".[93]

Personal life

Ford and his wife Karla (née Middlebrook) have four daughters: Krista,[94] Kayla, Kara and Kyla. He has said that Karla's maternal grandparents were Jewish and immigrated to Canada from Europe to flee persecution.[95]

Ford became an "ethical vegetarian" after working in a meatpacking plant as a teenager,[96] and while this is no longer the case, he still does not eat red meat.[97]

A book by Doug and Rob Ford titled Ford Nation: Two Brothers, One Vision – The True Story of the People's Mayor appeared in 2016.[98] In a November 2017 episode of the TVOntario series Political Blind Date Ford was paired with then Ontario NDP MPP for Bramalea—Gore—Malton Jagmeet Singh.[a] The pair explored different forms of transportation, with Singh taking Ford on a downtown Toronto bicycle ride while Ford drove Singh along the dedicated streetcar right-of-way on St. Clair Avenue.[99] Ford said of the experience that the two became friends, and Singh said Ford was "very warm and friendly".[100]

In 2014, Doug and his mother donated $90,000 to Humber River Hospital, where Rob Ford was receiving care.[101] Upon Rob's death, Doug and Randy took on stewardship of Rob's share of Deco Labels and Tags.[102]

In 2018, Rob's widow sued Doug and Randy for mismanagement of Rob's estate, saying their actions deprived her and her children of due compensation while overseeing business losses at Deco Labels totalling half of the company's market value. In response, Doug alleged that the claims and the lawsuit's timing in the same week as the 2018 Ontario election amounted to extortion.[103][104]

Electoral record

Municipal election record

2010 Toronto election, Ward 2
Candidate Votes %
Doug Ford 12,660 71.68
Cadigia Ali 2,346 13.28
Luciano Rizzuti 828 4.69
Rajinder Lall 736 4.17
Andrew Saikaley 637 3.60
Jason Pedlar 455 2.58
Total 17,662 100%
2014 Toronto mayoral election
Candidate Votes[105] %
John Tory 394,775 40.28
Doug Ford 330,610 33.73
Olivia Chow 227,003 23.15
64 other candidates 7,913 2.84
Total 980,177 100.00

Ontario PC Party leadership election

2018 Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario leadership election
Candidate Ballot 1 Ballot 2 Ballot 3
Name Votes Points Votes Change Points Change Votes Change Points Change
Christine Elliott 23,237
36.28%
4,187
34.13%
24,138
37.99%
901
1.71%
4,394
35.82%
207
1.69%
32,202
51.74%
8,064
13.75%
6,049
49.38%
1,655
13.56%
Doug Ford 20,363
31.80%
4,091
33.35%
27,812
43.77%
7,449
11.97
5,652
46.08%
1,561
12.73%
30,041
48.26%
2,229
4.49%
6,202
50.62%
550
4.54%
Caroline Mulroney 11,099
17.33%
2,107
17.18%
11,595
18.25%
496
0.92%
2,221
18.11%
114
0.93%
eliminated
Tanya Granic Allen 9,344
14.596%
1,882
15.34%
eliminated
TOTAL 64,043 12,267 63,545 −498 12,267 0 62,243 −1,302 12,251 −16

Provincial election record

Ontario general election, 2018
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Doug Ford 19,055 52.54 +29.79
New Democratic Mahamud Amin 9,210 25.39 -0.82
Liberal Shafiq Qaadri 6,601 18.20 -26.71
Green Nancy Kaur Ghuman 991 2.73 +0.23
Libertarian Brianne Lefebvre 414 1.14 +1.14
Total valid votes 36,271 100.0  
Progressive Conservative gain from Liberal Swing +15.30
Source:Elections Ontario[81]

Notes

  1. ^ Between the filming and airing of the episode Singh was elected leader of the federal New Democratic Party

References

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Works cited

Further reading

  • McDonald, Marci (2012). "The Incredible Shrinking Mayor". Toronto Life (May 2012): 40–54. 
  • Doolittle, Robyn (2014). Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story. Viking Press. 

External links