As the song “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor echoed throughout the backyard, Doug Ford got up on stage, took hold of the microphone and slowly began to respond to the anticipation that he was about to make an announcement many people in Ford Nation have been clamouring for.
“Here, today, I am officially going to announce that I will be running for mayor of Toronto,” Ford said on Friday night in Etobicoke.
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) September 9, 2017
Hundreds of people who turned out for the 23rd annual Ford Fest on Weston Wood Road, were wearing Ford Nation T-shirts and waving Ford Nation flags. They erupted when Ford said he’s decided to continue his late brother’s legacy.
“Rob is looking down from heaven right now with a smile on his face,” he said.”Robbie, this one is going to be for you.”
Dareen Vern is a former school teacher and taught both Ford brothers back in kindergarten. Describing Doug Ford as always being a “generous” and “giving” person, Vern suspects that the outcome in the 2018 mayoral election will be in his favour.
“Doug was always very good to others,” Vern explained. “I think his chances of winning are very good, it’s not going to be easy, but we need someone like Doug to sit in the mayoral chair.”
Having attended Ford Fest for the last few years, Jennifer Choo Chee always enjoys attending the annual barbecue, for the interactions she has with fellow supporters and Doug Ford himself. Choo Chee believes Ford is the right person to be mayor, not just for his generosity, but because he will “fight for people.”
“He’s there for everyday people and he’ll help us reduce our property taxes,” Choo Chee said.
Different election, same campaign
Moments after announcing his intention to run in the 2018 mayoral election, Doug Ford criticized current Mayor John Tory on the “broken promises” he’s made to Torontonians. Ford accused Tory of “wasting money, and vowed that as mayor, he would give Toronto the lowest taxes in North America.
— Giorgio Lee (@giorgio_lee) September 12, 2017
“As mayor he has done everything he can do to introduce road tolls on the Gardiner (Expressway) and DVP (Don Valley Parkway),” Ford said. “That’s going to approximately add another $12,000 on people that commute back and forth from downtown.”
“(Mayor Tory’s) Administration has put a war on the car and I can tell you when I am mayor the war on the car will be over.”
Ford’s promise to end these proposed road tolls on the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway were actually already realized in January, of this year, when the province refused to permit road tolls on these two provincial highways.
The actual campaign for the Oct. 22, 2018 election does not start until May 1, 2018, meaning Ford can talk about his intention to run, but can not post ads, fundraise, or post election signs until the official starting date.
This is not the first time Doug Ford has tried his luck in winning the mayoral election. In 2014, Ford’s younger brother, then-Mayor Rob Ford, was trying to win re-election against John Tory and former city councillor Olivia Chow. Halfway through the campaign, Rob was diagnosed with pleomorphic liposarcoma, a rare form of cancer that arises in the adipose tissue (body fat).
Despite taking his brother’s place in September, 2014 with only a month before election night, Doug Ford obtained 33.73 per cent of popular vote, falling short to John Tory’s 40.28 per cent.
After a year and a half of chemotherapy, Rob Ford died on March 22, 2016.
Michael Ford, a nephew and current city councillor, claims he has already seen a massive amount of support for his uncle’s mayoral ambitions. As the youngest city councillor for Ward 2 Etobicoke North, Michael, 22, thinks his uncle would be a “breath of fresh air” if elected mayor.
“People are fed up with the reckless spending at city hall and the tax increases,”Michael said.
With even more time to campaign than he did in the 2014 mayoral election, Doug Ford, who served one term on council while his brother was mayor, said that this election is going to be a very different ball game.
“We have a stronger team, a bigger team, a smarter team, and most importantly we won’t just have four weeks, we’ll have a year to hold this mayor accountable,” Ford said.