The Real Reason Doug Ford Didn't
Run In Last Spring's Provincial Election
By Susanna Kelley
As Doug Ford mulls whether to jump into the Ontario PC leadership race in the next few days, new information has surfaced on the real reasons he did not run for a seat in the last provincial election.
Contrary to Mr. Ford's assertions that he made his own decision, he was told not to run by Conservative party powerbrokers, angry over his public denunciations of former Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair, OntarioNewsWatch has learned.
Doug Ford met with Tory officials last February and within days, declared that he had decided not to run for the PCs in the provincial election.
But contrary to Mr. Ford's assertions that the decision was made by him alone - because he wanted to help his brother Rob get re-elected as mayor - Mr. Ford was actually told "it would be in everyone's best interest" if he did not run, highly placed sources say.
And while it may have not been said directly to his face, senior party officials felt Mr. Ford's call for Mr. Blair's resignation was the final straw, with many in the party concerned that drug investigations involving Mr. Ford's brother Rob was something that could be a disaster for their party.
The Ontario PCs have traditionally been strong supporters of the police in Toronto and elsewhere in the province, although Mr. Hudak, some felt, had already lost the support of the OPP.
Mr. Ford accused Mr. Blair of being motivated by vengeance - "payback," he called it - in setting up "Project Brazen", the investigation into whether his brother Rob was using crack cocaine.
Former Chief Blair threatened to sue Doug Ford, after which he issued two separate apologies.
It's unknown to what extent Tories will remember Mr. Ford's months-long fight with the leader of one Canada's largest municipal police forces.
Mr. Ford has people making calls for him to suss out his chances, according to a party source, and a website has been launched centred around his potential bid for the leadership.
Former mayor Rob Ford has said he always believed Doug Ford would be Ontario Premier one day.
However, a number of Tories also say they are worried that if Mr. Ford does take over the leadership of the party, the chaos that marked the last four years of Toronto city politics would transfer to the provincial scene, and hurt the PCs.
"Like, we don't need a circus," said one senior Tory.
Four of the five declared leadership candidates squared off in their first official debate earlier this week in Sudbury.
Christine Elliott, Vic Fideli, Patrick Brown, Monte McNaughton and Lisa MacLeod are expected to spend the upcoming festive season working the holiday celebration gatherings to round up as much support as possible.
The race is expected to heat up in January, as supporters frantically work to sell as many memberships as possible in the lead up to the one-member, one-vote election in May.