Sunday, February 4, 2018
Doug Ford will be Ontario's next Premier
The Ontario Progressive Conservative Party's leadership race has come down to two choices. Doug Ford or someone other than Doug Ford.
That was readily apparent yesterday on a cold, snowy night, in a bleak area near Pearson Airport where Ford was able to get almost 2000 people to turn out to enthusiastically launch his leadership bid.
The cavernous north building of the Toronto Congress Centre was filled to near capacity by people from different parts of Ontario. The room represented more diversity than any other political candidate of any of Ontario's major political parties ever has or could muster.
That's part of the magic of the Ford brand.
At his launch, Ford reiterated his commitment to fiscal responsibility, his opposition to a Carbon Tax, and his drive to reversing the economic decline, corrupt spending practices, and abuse of taxpayers that are all facets of Kathleen Wynne's disastrous Liberal Party government.
The electricity in the room was incredible. If Kathleen Wynne were there, she would have tried to figure out a way to tax it. I haven't seen anything like it in Canadian politics before, and as a Young Liberal, I was at rallies that featured both Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien. Just standing at the periphery, as Doug made rounds near the front of the room following his speech, I was jostled from behind, and pushed from the front by throngs of people clamoring to get near him to shake his hand or get a selfie with the candidate. What Ford's got is as close to rock star popularity as a politician in this country gets.
During his speech, I was standing near the edge of the rally with a friend and some new acquaintances who are long-time Progressive Conservative Party insiders. They came out of curiosity and were not disposed to supporting Ford. But they remarked that there is no way that his main leadership rival, Christine Elliott, could ever generate the type of enthusiasm and support that Ford does.
Ford reminded his supporters that they have to encourage everyone they know who isn't already a member of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party that they have to join in order to vote for him in the leadership race. It costs $10 dollars and a link to membership sign-up is here.
Charisma matters in a political campaign. So does credibility about keeping promises. Ford has both and is the best bet Ontario has for a Premier who will serve the people rather than manipulate them.