Doug Ford

Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario Enlarge The Globe and Mail

Doug Ford

Doug Ford in Toronto - 2018 (41065995960) (cropped).jpg
Ford in 2018
26th Premier of Ontario
Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
Assumed office
June 29, 2018
MonarchElizabeth II
Lieutenant GovernorElizabeth Dowdeswell
DeputyChristine Elliott
Preceded byKathleen Wynne
Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario
Assumed office
March 10, 2018
Preceded byVic Fedeli (interim)
Member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament
for Etobicoke North
Assumed office
June 7, 2018
Preceded byShafiq Qaadri
Toronto City Councillor
In office
December 1, 2010 – November 30, 2014
Preceded byRob Ford
Succeeded byRob Ford
ConstituencyEtobicoke North (Ward 2)
Personal details
Douglas Robert Ford

(1964-11-20) November 20, 1964 (age 55)
Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada
Political partyProgressive Conservative
Spouse(s)Karla Middlebrook
Children4 (including Krista)
FatherDoug Ford Sr.
ResidencePrincess Gardens, Etobicoke, Toronto
Alma materHumber College (no degree)[1]
OccupationBusinessperson, politician

Douglas Robert Ford (About this soundlisten) (born November 20, 1964) is a Canadian businessman and politician serving as the 26th premier of Ontario since June 29, 2018. He represents the riding of Etobicoke North.

With his brother Randy, Ford co-owns Deco Labels and Tags, a printing business operating in Canada and the United States that was founded by their father, Doug Ford Sr., who served as a Member of Provincial Parliament from 1995 to 1999. Ford was Toronto City Councillor for Ward 2 Etobicoke North from 2010 to 2014 at the same time that his brother, Rob Ford, was Mayor of Toronto. Ford ran for the 2014 Toronto mayoral election, where he placed second behind John Tory. In 2018, Ford won the party leadership election of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party and led the Tories to a majority win in the 2018 Ontario general election.

Early life, family, and education

Ford was born in Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada, the second of four children of Doug Bruce and Ruth Diane (née Campbell) Ford.[2][3][4] His paternal grandparents were English immigrants.[5] He attended Scarlett Heights Collegiate Institute[6] for five years, graduating in 1983.[7] He then attended Humber College for two months before dropping out.[8][9]

Early business career

In the 1990s, Ford became involved in the running of Deco Labels and Tags, a business co-founded by his father in 1962.[10][11] The company makes pressure-sensitive labels for plastic-wrapped grocery products.[12] Doug Jr. became president of the company in 2002, and was responsible for the company's expansion into Chicago.[11] Nearing his death, his father divided up the company, leaving 40% to Doug Jr., 40% to Randy and 20% to Rob. In 2008, Doug Jr. launched the purchase of Wise Tag and Label in New Jersey and fired Wise Tag's manager. Former Deco employees suggest that the Chicago branch was well-managed under Doug Jr., and that he was well-liked, but that the company declined under Randy's leadership after Doug Jr. entered politics in 2010.[13][11] As of 2011, Ford and his mother were directors of the company, managed by his brother Randy.[12][14]

Early involvement in politics

Ford's first involvement in politics came when Doug Holyday approached Deco to print "For mayor" stickers for signs for his 1994 campaign for mayor of Etobicoke. Ford took it upon himself to canvass for Holyday.[15] He then assisted in his father's campaigns as a PC candidate for MPP in 1995 and 1999.[16] He also ran his brother Rob's council campaigns in 2000, 2003, and 2006, and Rob's winning mayoral campaign in 2010.[17]

Municipal politics

On October 25, 2010, Ford was elected as councillor to Toronto City Council in Ward 2. He succeeded his brother, Rob, who ran successfully for Mayor of Toronto. Upon election, Doug Ford announced that he would donate his $100,000 annual salary to community organizations.[18]

Doug Ford in 2011

As a city councillor, Ford voted to privatize garbage pickup west on Yonge Street, declare the Toronto Transit Commission an essential service, reduce the office budget of city councillors, and eliminate the vehicle registration tax.[19]

Boards and agencies

While on city council, Ford served on the board of Build Toronto,[20] an arm's-length city body responsible for developing and selling city land. He was also a director of the Canadian National Exhibition, and served on the Budget Committee, the Civic Appointments Committee and the Government Management Committee at Council.[21]

Ford was a member of the board of Toronto Transit Infrastructure Limited, a corporation set up to finance a Sheppard Avenue subway extension, which Council later cancelled. In 2011, Ford promoted an alternative plan for the Port Lands district of Toronto, including a monorail, a boat-in hotel, the world's largest Ferris wheel and a mega-mall.[22] The plan was ridiculed in the media and council voted it down—including by members of the mayoral executive committee.[23]

Other events while councillor

Ford caused controversy after revealing that his brother Rob would be served a subpoena if Rob's friend and driver Alexander Lisi went to court over charges of extortion.[24] Ford commented that the subpoena was in "payback" of Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair not getting a contract renewal with the Toronto Police Service, saying "This is why we need a change at the top", in regards to Blair's contract.[25] Blair filed a defamation lawsuit, demanding a written apology in exchange for dropping the suit. Ford apologized verbally and then later apologized and retracted the comments in writing.[26]

An investigative report by The Globe and Mail published in May 2013 alleged that Ford sold hashish at James Gardens for several years in the 1980s,[27][28] based on interviews with anonymous sources.[29] Ford, who had never been charged with an offence, denied the allegations[30] and accused the newspaper of unfairly targeting his brother, then-Mayor Rob Ford. The newspaper defended its report and its use of anonymous sources at an Ontario Press Council hearing,[28][31] which dismissed complaints against the newspaper and found that its coverage was "fair and ethical".[32] Ford said at the time that he planned to sue the newspaper for libel.[33] When asked in a 2018 interview why he had not sued, he replied that he had decided a lawsuit would be a "waste of time".[34]

Ford opposed a house for developmentally disabled youth in his ward, saying the home had "ruined the community".[35]

Aspirations for higher office and 2014 mayoral candidacy

Doug Ford at a 2014 parade

In June 2013, Ford announced that he would not run for re-election as councillor in the next Toronto election, scheduled for 2014: "I won't be running next time, at least down here I won't be running, I'll be running away from this place in 16 months", expressing his frustration with municipal politics.[36] It was speculated at the time that Ford may be a Progressive Conservative (PC) candidate for a future Ontario election, or interested in the leadership of the Progressive Conservatives.[37] On February 20, 2014, after meeting with Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak, Ford announced that he would not be a candidate in the next provincial election, which was called for June 12, 2014, so that he could focus on his brother's re-election campaign. Ford added that he did intend to be a candidate in a subsequent provincial election, saying: "The timing right now just doesn't work."[38]

After his brother Rob Ford entered drug rehab in May 2014, Doug Ford commented that he would not rule out running for mayor.[39] Rob Ford returned from rehab and continued his campaign for mayor, but withdrew after he was diagnosed with an abdominal tumour and hospitalized. Doug Ford then entered the mayoral campaign in the last hour before the nomination deadline on September 12, 2014.[40] Comments Ford made during the campaign received criticism for alleged bigotry, such as misogyny and antisemitism, and critics accused him of conflict of interest and of drug dealing in the past.[41] Though voters viewed the brothers as having the same ideological stance and gave them similar levels of support,[42] Rob's drug scandal received little attention with regard to Doug's campaign.[43]

Ford's campaign got the attention of Last Week Tonight's John Oliver, who closed an episode begging Torontonians to vote for Doug Ford for the world's amusement.[44] Doug Ford maintained the support that Rob had in the polls, and made no significant ground against frontrunner John Tory, but maintained his lead over Olivia Chow. Ford lost the election to Tory, having 34% of the support compared to Tory's 40%. Ford's campaign was fined $11,950 for placing 478 illegal lawn signs during the campaign, including placing signs on the Don Valley Parkway, the Gardiner Expressway, and on civic buildings and parks.[45]

Following his unsuccessful mayoral candidacy, there was speculation that Ford would become a candidate for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. Ford told reporters: "It's on the table, I would really consider it", and added: "Our campaign is ready to go. Our people are itching to get involved. We are miles ahead of the other candidates."[46] On November 27, 2014, Ford announced that he would not be a candidate for the position and endorsed the candidacy of family friend Christine Elliott.[47]

Integrity Commissioner ruling against Ford

In December 2016, the City of Toronto's integrity commissioner concluded that Ford broke the city's code of conduct when he was a councillor finding that Ford improperly used his influence in municipal matters pertaining to two companies that were clients of his family's company. Integrity Commissioner Valerie Jepson ruled that: "Councillor Ford took no steps to establish clear lines of separation between his responsibilities as a member of Council and his duties as a principal of Deco."[48]

Since Ford was no longer a councillor by the time the ruling was issued, the commissioner did not recommend any sanctions for Ford.[49]

Cancelled 2018 Toronto mayoral campaign

On September 9, 2017, Ford announced at his family's annual barbecue that he would run for Mayor of Toronto in the 2018 election, saying "this one's for you, Robbie", referring to his younger brother Rob who had died the previous year.[50] Ford said that his opponent, John Tory, was "all talk and broken promises".[51] On February 1, 2018, Ford announced that he no longer planned to run for mayor that year because he intended to focus entirely on his campaign for Ontario PC leader.[52]

Provincial politics

2018 Progressive Conservative leadership campaign

Ford for Leader
CandidateDoug Ford
AffiliationProgressive Conservative Party of Ontario
SloganStrong Party, Strong Ontario
Top Map: Results of the first round by plurality of points. Bottom Map: Results of the 3rd (final) round by plurality of points

Following the sudden resignation of Patrick Brown on January 25, 2018, the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario announced a new leader would need to be chosen before the 2018 Ontario general election in June. Ford was the first candidate to announce, on January 29, that he would seek the leadership of the party.[53][54] On January 31, 2018, Ford announced he would seek the PC nomination in Etobicoke North and run for the seat in the 2018 election.[55] He was one of the four official candidates running for the PC leadership along with Christine Elliott, Caroline Mulroney, and Tanya Granic Allen.[56]

Ford promised to represent the interests of Northern Ontario in Queen's Park. He called his opponents "insiders" and "political elites", who did not represent the interests of the residents of Northern Ontario like he could. Ford pledged several northern-focused policy initiatives including moving forward with resource development in the Northern Ontario Ring of Fire and reinstating the Ontario Northland Railway's Northlander train service.[57]

Ford called the Ontario health care system "broken" while relating the hospital experience of his brother Rob. He explained that Rob fell while being guided to a chair, and as the hospital was understaffed Doug had to rush down eleven floors to find security guards to help. He stated that the province should support transportation to allow Northern Ontarians to travel quickly and easily to the south to receive medical care and should increase provincial support for Ontario's small and medium-sized hospitals.[57][58]

Polling results ahead of the leadership ballot were mixed. A February Ipsos/Global News poll found that Ford had the most support of all the PC Leadership candidates in Toronto and would beat the Liberals in the city by nine points, but a Mainstreet poll showed him doing only marginally better than the other PC candidates except Patrick Brown, and a Forum Research poll suggested he would have less support than the other candidates.[59]

On March 10, Ford won the PC leadership on the third ballot. The results were too close to call and there was a dispute over whether some votes were allocated to the correct electoral districts, so the announcement was not be made at the originally scheduled convention. A news conference was held later that night after a recount was completed. Elliott conceded the next day and endorsed Ford as leader.[56]

On March 27, 2018, Ford was named the party's candidate in Etobicoke North.[60]

2018 Ontario general election

In March 2018, the Liberals tabled a pre-election budget in the provincial legislature which promised billions of dollars in new spending for free childcare and expanded coverage for dental care but replaced the government's previous balanced budget with a $6.7 billion deficit projected to last until 2024–2025.[61] Ford called the budget a "spending spree".[62] He said he would condense the Conservative platform adopted under former leader Patrick Brown, reducing "about ten percent of [it]",[63] into a five-point plan focusing on health, education, creating jobs, getting rid of the province's cap-and-trade program for carbon emissions, and reducing electricity rates.[64][65][66]

Ford was critical of the sex education components of the Ontario health curriculum which was updated in 2015, and stated that he believed it needed to be reviewed.[67][68] He suggested that minors should be required to consult their parents before obtaining an abortion, and indicated he would allow the introduction of a private member's bill requiring parental consent.[69] Liberal campaign co-chair Deb Matthews accused Ford of wading into "divisive social conservative issues" with his remarks.[70]

In regards to job creation, Ford said he would revive manufacturing in Ontario by easing regulations, cutting taxes, and ensuring competitive electricity rates.[64] Ford criticized the Liberal government for not proceeding quickly enough to develop the Northern Ontario Ring of Fire, saying that he'd get on a bulldozer himself if necessary.[71][72] Northern Ontario newspaper The Chronicle-Journal criticized Ford's remarks as being "simplistic" in regards to Indigenous land claims and ensuring Indigenous communities receive a share of any economic gains.[73]

Doug Ford campaigning in Sudbury during the 2018 Ontario general election

Ford announced at an April 3 rally in Hamilton, Ontario that if elected his government would allow Hamilton City Council to reallocate the $1.3 billion allocated for the city's proposed rapid transit system to roads or other infrastructure.[74] Hamilton mayor Fred Eisenberger responded saying that city council had already decided the issue and that cancelling the LRT would mean $100 million would "be thrown away".[75] Ted McMeekin, a local Liberal MPP, criticized Ford's announcement saying "He paints himself as a responsible fiscal person but sees nothing wrong with writing a blank cheque for $1.2 billion."[75]

In early April, the CBC published their analysis of aggregate polls showing that Ford and the Progressive Conservatives were ahead of the other parties averaging 42.1% support, compared to 27.2% for the governing Liberals, 23.4% for the NDP and 5.7% for the Greens[76] and with 11 Liberal MPPs announcing they would not be running for re-election or having already resigned their seats in the months leading up to the election.[77]

Ford and the PC Party received the endorsement of former Toronto mayor Mel Lastman and former Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion. In explaining her choice not to support Kathleen Wynne's Liberals, McCallion said "As mayor, I never ran the city based on debt. I know the real Doug Ford. He's hardworking, he cares about people of all ages and can be trusted."[78] In the media, Ford was compared to U.S. President Donald Trump.[73][79][80] The Guardian described Ford as a "businessman turned anti-establishment politician", a "son of a wealthy entrepreneur" who "rails against elites" and "often shuns expertise", while noting a sharp difference with Trump by pointing out that during his 2014 Toronto mayoral campaign "Ford drummed up strong support among some of the city’s most diverse neighbourhoods, suggesting his populist touch resonates with immigrants and racialised minorities who have traditionally self-identified as disenfranchised".[79] Ford rejected the comparisons while praising some of Trump's policies.[81]

Ford led the PC Party to a majority government in the general election held on June 7, 2018, taking 76 of 124 seats in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario,[82] including his own riding of Etobicoke North.[83] Ford had been PC Leader for less than 100 days when his party won the election.[84]

Premiership of Ontario

Ford was sworn in as Premier on June 29, 2018, incorporating a ceremony outdoors on the lawn of Queen's Park.[85] Ford is the first newly-elected MPP to take office as premier since Mitch Hepburn did so in 1934.[86]

Ford announced a salary and hiring freeze for Ontario civil servants before being sworn in.[87] The Ford government also cancelled the Green Ontario Fund residential rebate program which included a $100 million fund for public school repair, free prescriptions to youth 24 and under, and an initiative to add indigenous peoples content to school curriculum.[88]

On July 11, 2018, Ford announced that Ontario's health curriculum including sexual education components, updated by the previous government in 2015, would be reverted to the 1998 curriculum before the next school year.[89] Doug Ford also announced several other changes including reducing the size of Toronto city council from 47 to 25, privatizing the sale of cannabis, lowering the minimum price of beer from $1.25 to $1 and increased funding for the Toronto Police Service.[90] On September 28, 2018, the Ontario government announced the cancellation of the Drive Clean program, with the intention of focusing instead on the reduction of pollution from heavy-duty vehicles. The change will be effective on April 1, 2019.[91]

Cap and trade and carbon tax

On June 15, 2018, then Premier-designate, Ford announced in a statement that one of the first actions of his newly-formed cabinet would be to eliminate the province's cap and trade program under the 2016 "Bill 172, the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-Carbon Economy Act", a polluter pay bill that "generated funds for climate change mitigation and adaptation,"[92] put in place by the Liberal government. As premier, through Bill 4, "Cap and Trade Cancellation Act, 2018" which was tabled on July 25, 2018, Ford repealed Bill 172 as part of his promise to lower gasoline prices by 10 cents per litre.[93][94]

In July Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that provinces that do not adopt a carbon pricing mechanism by September 1, 2018, would be subject to a federal carbon tax of $20/tonne starting in January 2019.[95] Ontario's "fiscal watchdog"[96] and other analysts said that the province will have to refund an estimated $3 billion in carbon credits over four years purchased under the cap and trade program.[97] By mid-November 2018, the Globe and Mail reported that the Ontario government had "lost $2.7-billion in revenue" which included the $1.5-billion loss of revenue from the elimination of the cap-and-trade program.[96]

Ford has worked with the premiers of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick to fight the federal government's carbon tax legislation.[98] Ford has also supported campaigns to repeal the carbon tax led by Conservative Party of Canada leader Andrew Scheer and Alberta United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney.[99]

Ford had warned that the imposition of the federal carbon tax would result in an increase in the price of gas in Ontario. According to fuel price analyst Patrick DeHaan, the average retail price of gas increased from 114.3 cents per litre before the carton tax to "117.9 cents on April 1, the first day of the new tax" and 125.3 cents per litre in mid-July. There has been a 9.2 per cent drop in gasoline prices across Canada over the last year, according to the July 17, 2019 Statistics Canada report which resulted in inflation falling nationally in June 2019 to 2.0 per cent. DeHaan said that in July 2018 the average price of gas in Ontario had been 130.1 cents per litre.[100] He added that the retail price of gas reflects the drop in the price of oil prices from US$72 per barrel to US$60 a barrel in 2019 and is not related to the carbon tax.[100]

Hydro One

During his election campaign Ford had promised to lower Ontario's electricity rates by 12%.[101][102] During his campaign, in April 2018, he announced that in order to reduce electricity rates,[64] he would redirect the province's dividends from partial ownership of Hydro One to subsidize market electricity rates, as well as absorbing the cost of conservation programs currently paid for by consumers, at an estimated cost of $800 million per year.[103]

Ford attacked Hydro One CEO Mayo Schmidt, calling him "Kathleen Wynne's $6-million dollar man" in reference to his reported annual salary, and called on the utility's board of directors to resign.[104] Ford vowed to fire them all if elected, although PCPO energy critic Todd Smith later clarified that the government cannot dismiss Hydro One's CEO directly.[105] He opposed his predecessor's decision to privatize Hydro One, but does not plan to reverse the decision.[citation needed] His government passed legislation to publicly disclose and reduce the salaries of Hydro One's board members and executives.[106] On July 11, 2018, Hydro One CEO Mayo Schmidt resigned along with the entire board.[107][108]

According to Bloomberg News, by December 5, 2018, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, the state's regulators, rejected Hydro One's $3.4 takeover of Avista because of "political risks in Ontario...from provincial leaders who may not have the company’s well being in mind".[109] Bloomberg also reported that, if the merger was not approved by the state's regulators, Hydro One would have to pay c.CA$138 million break fee. Because Hydro One is partially owned by the Ontario government, Ontario ratepayers would also be paying the "Parent Termination Fee".[110] Ford denies that he is to blame for the U.S. regulators' decision.[111]

Low-Income Individuals and Families Tax credit (LIFT)

On November 15, 2018 Finance Minister Vic Fedeli tabled the 2018 Ontario Economic Outlook[112] which included a tax cut representing as much as $850 a year for individuals and $1,700 for couples. LIFT would mean that a single person working full-time in minimum wage job, would pay no provincial personal income tax.[96] Minimum wage workers would still pay federal income tax which represents 75% of the tax rate.[113] LIFT is a variation on Ford's promise to cut taxes on those making less than $30,000 a year.[113] The amount of the tax credit applies only to minimum wage earners with full-time jobs. An individual who works part-time at $20 an hour but only earns $20,000 a year, would not be eligible.[113] Economist Sheila Block said that a $15 minimum wage would represent about $1,100 more a year for low income earners than Ford's tax credit.[113] In September 2018, Ford's government froze the minimum wage at $14 per hour and cancelled a planned increase.[114]

Bill 66

On December 6, 2018 the Ford administration tabled its omnibus bill, Bill 66. The bill allows municipalities to request a provincial government override of any regulations that currently deter businesses from locating in the region.[115][116][117] Ford's political opponents and groups that promote environmental protection raised concerns that the "opaque", "vague language" in Bill 66 could mean clean water regulations and other bylaws that protect environmentally sensitive land could be bypassed.[115] According to a December 7 The Globe and Mail article, under Bill 66, municipalities would only be required to obtain permission from the Minister of Municipal Affairs, to override sections of the 2006 Clean Water Act, the 2015 Great Lakes Protection Act, the 2006 Lake Simcoe Protection Act, and the 2005 Greenbelt Act.[118]

OPP controversies

Ford came under fire in December 2018 by Ontario Provincial Police Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair, who claimed Ford requested the OPP “purchase a large camper-type vehicle ... modified to specifications the premier’s office would provide” and keep the costs “off the books.” The vehicle was intended for the premier to use for work, and reportedly was asked to include a swivel chair.[119] The accusation followed on the heels of Ford appointing a longtime family friend to be the next OPP commissioner just days after lowering the requirements for the position.[120]

Political patronage controversies

In July 2018, Ford hired Rueben Devlin, former PC Party president and a Ford family friend, as a health-care advisor at a salary of $350,000 plus expenses, more than Ford's own salary of $208,974.[87][121]

In December 2018 Bob Paulson, who served as RCMP for 32-years before retiring in 2017, called for an independent third-party inquiry into Ford's appointment in December 2018 of Toronto Police Superintendent Ron Taverner, who is a long-time friend of Ford, as the new commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police.[120] By March 2019, Taverner had stepped down following "months of controversy" that "triggered an integrity commissioner investigation".[122]

A June 20, 2019 article in The Star said that Ford had awarded "plum patronage posts to two political allies". He hired Jag Badwal as Ontario's agent-general to Britain and the United States with an annual salary of $185,000.[123] Ford named Earl Provost as Ontario's agent-general to Chicago.[123]

On June 28, 2019 Ford's chief of staff, Dean French, resigned "amid a patronage scandal".[124] According to a The Globe and Mail article, French resigned "after it was revealed that two people with personal ties to [French], 26 year-old Tyler Albrecht and Taylor Shields were appointed to lucrative positions in New York and London.[125][126] The Toronto Sun reported in a June 27, 2019 article that 26 year-old Tyler Albrecht, who had a "thin resume" was proposed for a "job that paid $165,000 a year, plus housing and other expenses" as Ontario's "new trade rep in New York City". His qualification was "that he played lacrosse with French's son".[127] TVO's Steve Paikin cited the example of Taylor Shields, who is French's wife cousin who was appointed as the trade representative in London, England,[125] with a salary of $185,000 plus expenses.[126] Just hours before French resigned, Ford had cancelled Albrecht's and Shields' appointments.[126]

Thomas Staples, who played on St. Michael's College Varsity Lacrosse team with French as coach,[124] worked in the office of Bill Walker, who was Chief Government Whip. When Walker became Minister of Government and Consumer Services in November 2018, Staples worked as his executive assistant and legislative affairs advisor.[128] According to iPolitics, Staples had not completed his undergraduate studies, and had neither the qualifications nor work experience in politics.[128]

French's niece, Katherine Pal, who had been appointed as Ontario's Public Accounts Council resigned after her family ties to French were revealed.[128] According to Paikin, Pal was well qualified to be Public Accounts Council but she resigned because of the bad optics.[125]

On July 4, Peter Fenwick, who served as Ontario's first "strategic transformation adviser" since November 2018, was fired when it was revealed in an interview in an interview with The Star that "Fenwick has been a life insurance customer of French's for at least 20 years".[129]

On July 10, Andrew Suboch, a "a personal injury and insurance lawyer" who had served as chair of the Justices of the Peace Appointments Advisory Committee (JPAAC), informed the JPAAC that he was resigning immediately after an article in the Globe revealed that Suboch was another of French's "long-time" friends whose sons played lacrosse together for many years.[124][126]

According to a July 4, 2019 article in The Toronto Star, John Fraser, who is the Ontario Interim Liberal Leader, called for a "formal probe" into French's "involvement in appointments" to be undertaken by J. David Wake—Ontario's integrity commissioner—in order "to clear the air and restore public confidence". He asked that Ford "make any findings public" because of the "tremendous influence" French had in Ford's government.[130]

COVID-19 pandemic

In December 2019, an outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei, China; it spread worldwide and was recognized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020.[131][132] The first confirmed case in Canada was in Ontario—reported on January 27, 2020.[133]

On March 17, Ford declared a state of emergency in Ontario,[134] closing bars and restaurants (with the exception of take-out and delivery services), as well as libraries, theatres, cinemas, schools and daycares and all public gatherings of more than 50 people (later reduced to 5 people on March 28).[135] Furthermore, the government announced on March 17 that Ontario had "some evidence of community transmission" of COVID-19.[136]

On March 23, Ford announced that all "non-essential" businesses be ordered closed starting 11:59 p.m. on March 24. Ford also stated that schools would remain closed past the original April 6 opening date (on May 19 it was announced that schools would remain closed until the following school year in September).[137][138] A list of 74 "essential" businesses was published later in the day on March 23.[139][140][141]

On March 25, Ford and Finance Minister Rod Phillips introduced a $17-billion response package that includes an influx of cash for the health sector, direct payments to parents and tax breaks for businesses.[142]

Political positions


Ford is a fiscal conservative. He supports across-the-board tax reductions at all three levels of government.

As a Toronto city councilor and mayoral candidate, Ford supported eliminating the car registration tax, eliminating the land transfer tax and keeping property tax increases below the rate of inflation.[143]

As leader of the Ontario PC Party and the Premier of Ontario, Ford promised to reduce provincial taxes. His proposals included eliminating cap-and-trade, eliminating the provincial income tax for minimum wage workers,[113] reducing middle-class income tax rates, reducing the corporate income tax,[144] reducing the small business tax and reducing the gasoline tax.[94]

Carbon tax

Carbon tax decals on gas pumps in Ontario, mandated by the Ford government during the 2019 Canadian federal election.

Ford opposes the federal government's legislation that would impose a carbon tax on any province that does not develop a high enough one itself. Under his leadership, Ontario's government launched a legal challenge against the federal carbon tax, calling it unconstitutional.[145]

The end of the cap-and-trade program also meant rebates for electric vehicles funded through the program were cancelled.[146]

Spending reductions

Ford believes in reducing overall government spending.

As Ontario PC leader, Ford promised to reduce government spending enough to pay for his proposed tax cuts and to balance the budget. He pledged to introduce a moratorium on wind and solar projects and to cancel subsidies for electric cars.[better source needed][102][147] He also promised to end the practice of giving subsidies and grants to businesses on a case-by-case basis and to cancel the Jobs and Prosperity Fund.[better source needed][102] Ford's government cancelled the basic income pilot project.[148]

Doug Ford opposes the laying off of government workers. He supports the use of attrition to eliminate government jobs that he believes are not needed.[149]

Ford believes in hiring independent auditors to audit government spending.[150][102]

Ford opposes deficit spending and the accumulation of debt. He has criticized provincial governments for accumulating debt and for spending money on interest payments. Ford promised to balance the budget within his first term as Premier.[better source needed][102]


Ford is "pro-business" and supports reducing regulations on business,[144] halting a planned increase on the minimum wage and freezing it at $14 per hour in September 2018.[114]

In response to increasing calls for one, Ford has stated he opposes a ban on handguns in Ontario.[151]


Ford supports publicly funded healthcare and believes that funding should be increased to create 30,000 additional long-term care beds.[152]

Ford believes that the provincial government should fully subsidize dental costs for low-income seniors.[153]


As Premier, Ford scrapped the elementary school sex-education curriculum his predecessor introduced in 2015 and restored the previous curriculum from 1998.[154] He pledged to create a new sex-education curriculum after consulting with parents and teachers.[155] Ford stated the sex-education curriculum needed to be changed because it was not age-appropriate and not based on enough consultation.[156] He also opposes teaching students about non-binary genders.[157]

Ford believes that financial literacy education should be expanded and included in school curricula.[158]

Doug Ford believes Ontario's math curriculum should drop discovery learning and put a greater emphasis on arithmetic and memorization of the multiplication table.[159]

Ford used back-to-work legislation to end the 2018 strike at York University prior to the start of the 2018–2019 school year.[160] The strike had gone on for over four months, making it the longest post-secondary strike in Canadian history.

Ford ordered all public universities and colleges in Ontario to develop free-speech policies that meet his government's expectations and stated that universities and colleges that do not comply will face funding reductions.[161]

By June 2019, the Ford administration had removed or decreased funding for "school programs like after-school jobs for youth in low-income neighbourhoods", "tutors in classrooms", "daily physical activity for elementary students", "financial assistance for college and university students", "free tuition for low-income students", and "three satellite university campuses". He also "increased class sizes" and "cancelled three summer curriculum-writing sessions—one mandated by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and two others.[162]


Ford favours hydroelectric and nuclear energy over solar and wind energy. Ford campaigned on eliminating the Green Energy Act 2009 and repealed the legislation as premier.[163] Ford supports keeping the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station open until 2024.[164]

Ford believes that Ontario Power Generation employees should not be able to strike.[165]

Government debt

Ford opposes deficit spending and the accumulation of debt by governments.[citation needed]

Ford has promised to balance the Ontario government's budget by reducing spending.[better source needed][102]

Alcohol and drugs

Doug Ford pledged to expand the sale of alcohol and cannabis to private retailers.

Ford supports allowing licensed private retailers to sell alcohol and cannabis, rather than a government monopoly like the LCBO.[166] As Premier, he fulfilled his "buck-a-beer" campaign promise by reducing the minimum price of beer from $1.25 to $1.[167]

Ford opposes supervised drug injection sites.[168]

Ford opposed the legalization of recreational cannabis.[169] On January 22, 2019, Huffington Post reported that Ford's youngest daughter Kyla, a bodybuilder and fitness trainer, had posted videos promoting health benefits of CBD oil, a cannabis product which typically does not contain the psychoactive compound present in marijuana.[170] Various publications claimed Kyla's promotion wasn't lawful.[171][172][173][174] Ford's daughter took down the posts, but neither Ford nor his daughter commented on them.[170]


Ford believes federal legislation that imposes a carbon tax on provinces that do not have their own is unconstitutional.[175]

Ford believes that the constitution does not prevent provincial governments from changing the size of municipal councils, even after an election campaign has already begun.[176] After his government's legislation to reduce the number of Toronto city councilors was ruled unconstitutional, Ford pledged to invoke Section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which would allow him to implement the legislation regardless of the court's ruling.[176]


Ford is a proponent of subways and believes that the provincial government should assume control over Toronto's subway system.[177]

Ford supports cars as a method of transportation and opposes an alleged "war on cars".[178] Ford favours reducing gasoline taxes and opposes measures that increase gasoline prices.[179]

Political endorsements

Ford with Andrew Scheer, former leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

Doug Ford actively supported the two Toronto mayoral campaigns of his brother Rob Ford.[180]

In Canadian politics, Ford supports the Conservative Party of Canada and several provincial conservative parties, including the Alberta United Conservative Party.[181]

Ford previously endorsed the economic policies of the United States Republican Party and the presidency of Donald Trump,[182] however after Trump announced tariffs on Canadian aluminum imports in August 2020, Ford expressed his disapproval, calling Trump's policy "totally unacceptable".[183]

Personal life

Ford and his wife Karla (née Middlebrook) have four daughters: Krista,[184] Kayla, Kara, and Kyla. He has said that Karla's maternal grandparents were Jewish and immigrated to Canada from Europe to flee persecution.[185]

Ford became an "ethical vegetarian" after working in a meatpacking plant as a teenager,[186] and while this is no longer the case, he still does not eat red meat.[187] Ford, who is obese,[188] has struggled with his weight at least since 2012, when he publicly attempted a weight loss challenge.[188] Ford is occasionally fat shamed in the media, having been previously called "unfashionably overweight".[189][190]

A book by Doug and Rob Ford titled Ford Nation: Two Brothers, One Vision – The True Story of the People's Mayor appeared in 2016.[191] In a November 2017 episode of the TVOntario series Political Blind Date, Ford was paired with then Ontario NDP MPP for Bramalea—Gore—Malton Jagmeet Singh.[a] The pair explored different forms of transportation, with Singh taking Ford on a downtown Toronto bicycle ride while Ford drove Singh along the dedicated streetcar right-of-way on St. Clair Avenue.[192] Ford said of the experience that the two became friends, and Singh said Ford was "very warm and friendly".[193]

In 2014, Doug and his mother donated $90,000 to Humber River Hospital, where Rob Ford was receiving care.[194] Upon Rob's death, Doug and Randy took on stewardship of Rob's share of Deco Labels and Tags.[195]

In 2018, Rob's widow sued Doug and Randy for mismanagement of Rob's estate, saying their actions deprived her and her children of due compensation while overseeing business losses at Deco Labels totalling half of the company's market value. In response, Doug alleged that the claims and the lawsuit's timing in the same week as the 2018 Ontario election amounted to extortion.[196][197]

Ford's mother Diane died from cancer in January 2020.[198][199][200][201][202]

Electoral record

Municipal election record

2010 Toronto election, Ward 2
Candidate Votes %
Doug Ford 12,660 71.68
Cadigia Ali 2,346 13.28
Luciano Rizzuti 828 4.69
Rajinder Lall 736 4.17
Andrew Saikaley 637 3.60
Jason Pedlar 455 2.58
Total 17,662 100.00
2014 Toronto mayoral election
Candidate Votes[203] %
John Tory 394,775 40.28
Doug Ford 330,610 33.73
Olivia Chow 227,003 23.15
64 other candidates 7,913 2.84
Total 980,177 100.00

Ontario PC Party leadership election

2018 Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario leadership election
Candidate Ballot 1 Ballot 2 Ballot 3
Name Votes Points Votes Change Points Change Votes Change Points Change
Christine Elliott 23,237
Doug Ford 20,363
Caroline Mulroney 11,099
Tanya Granic Allen 9,344
Total 64,043 12,267 63,545 −498 12,267 0 62,243 −1,302 12,251 −16

Provincial election record

2018 Ontario general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Doug Ford 19,055 52.48 +29.73
New Democratic Mahamud Amin 9,210 25.37 −0.84
Liberal Shafiq Qaadri 6,601 18.18 −26.73
Green Nancy Kaur Ghuman 1,026 2.83 +0.33
Libertarian Brianne Lefebvre 414 1.14 +1.14
Total valid votes 36,306 100.0  
Progressive Conservative gain from Liberal Swing +15.30
Source: Elections Ontario[204]


  1. ^ Between the filming and airing of the episode Singh was elected leader of the federal New Democratic Party


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