TORONTO — The new leader of Ontario’s conservative party is the brother of late Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who became famous for smoking crack cocaine.
The Progressive Conservatives elected Doug Ford as the party’s new leader Saturday ahead of the June election in Canada’s most populous province.
Doug Ford is a former city councilor and was his brother’s most aggressive defender. Rob’s Ford’s tenure as mayor of the country’s largest city was marred by revelations about his illegal drug use. He was repeatedly videotaped while intoxicated in public. Rob Ford died of cancer in 2016.
Doug Ford has himself been the subject of drug allegations. The Globe and Mail newspaper reported in 2013 that he sold hashish for several years in the 1980s. He denied the allegations.
Many political analysts had expected the Progressive Conservatives to win the next election after 15 years of Liberal party rule.
“We’re going to spend the coming weeks getting the party in fighting shape, because the people of this province are ready for change,” Doug Ford said.
Ford’s victory was announced late Saturday without the fanfare that had been expected. Hundreds of people had packed a hall north of Toronto expecting to celebrate a new party leader to replace the previous one who stepped down amid sexual misconduct allegations he denies. Instead, after a 4.5-hour delay, the chair of the party’s leadership election organizing committee dismissed the irate crowd with a terse statement about the need for a review of the results.
Doug Ford narrowly eked out a win over former provincial legislator Christine Elliott on the third ballot.