In The News This Week: “Ford Nation” takes Ontario…?

The leadership race for the Ontario PC Party came to a chaotic close yesterday, with a result that has surprised many, including us here at mPolitics. Doug Ford has been named the new leader.

Shortly after the results were released, reports surfaced that Ford’s competitor Christine Elliott (who was for many, the likely favourite to win) was refusing to concede defeat based on “serious irregularities” that involved thousands of members being assigned to incorrect ridings. Following these allegations, both party officials and the chief electoral officer have investigated the issue, concluding that “the identified issue would not statistically lead to a change in the outcome.” In short, Doug Ford is now the official party leader and that’s not going to change.

Vote calculation involved a somewhat complicated process, as the leader was not elected based on their total vote count, but by points allocated to each riding. According to reports, the party allocated 100 points to each of the province’s 124 ridings. A number of the province’s ridings didn’t have 100 voters, so each ballot was given the weight of a single point. In total 64, 053 votes were cast.

With respect to policy, Doug Ford has voiced  his opposition to a carbon tax, has  criticized the Liberal government’s sex education curriculum, voiced his personal opposition to abortion and said he’d allow caucus members to vote with their conscience on policy matters (Global News). Additionally, in a February meeting with iPolitics Ford emphasized business development, saying he would “have a sign saying (Ontario is) open for business.”

His political style and rhetoric have strong populist undertones. In the same iPolitics interview referenced above, Ford indicated that he plans to “clean out” Queen’s Park from top to bottom, and communicated his disdain for “the elites” and “the establishment” who look down on other people “like they’re smarter than you”. In his victory speech given last night, the full transcript for which can be found here, Ford promised to “return our province to where it belongs.” Sound familiar?

From our perspective at mPolitics, this result is profoundly disappointing and leaves the Ontario PC Party (even more) divided and weakened as they head toward the June election. Following months of serious controversy resulting from the sexual assault allegations against Patrick Brown, what the party needs is strong, stable and credible leadership. If we at mPolitics could have chosen a leader, it would have been Christine Elliott.

Authored By: Emma McKay, Co-Founder & Editor, mPolitics

Doug Ford
Doug Ford speaker after winning the Ontario PC leadership race on March 10, 2018. Source: Chris Young, The Canadian Press

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