Watch above: Following the announcement of his tumour diagnosis, Rob Ford has withdrawn from his reelection campaign and passed the torch to his older brother Doug. Mike Drolet has the details.
Mayor Rob Ford and his brother, Coun. Doug Ford, worked side-by-side at Toronto City Hall for the past four years, but with the mayor’s tumor diagnosis this week there’s an opportunity for their roles to be switched.
Rob Ford has withdrawn his bid for reelection to the mayor’s office, and older brother Doug has stepped in.
Rob Ford will now run for councillor in Ward 2—the Etobicoke North riding he served as councillor in for a decade.
Doug Ford held that riding after winning the seat in the 2010 election. He said in February he would not run for reelection.
The Fords’ nephew, Michael Ford (son of Karen Ford), intended to run in Ward 2, but withdrew his nomination to make way for Uncle Rob and will now run for a Toronto District School Board trustee in Ward 1 – Etobicoke North.
“I’ve asked Doug to finish what we started together, so that all we’ve accomplished isn’t washed away. I have asked Doug to run to become the next Mayor of Toronto, because we need him. We cannot go backwards,” Rob Ford said in his statement, withdrawing from the race, on Friday.
The mayor said he never could have “accomplished what we did” if his older brother had not been a part of it.
Should both Ford brothers win their respective campaigns, it doesn’t mean that Rob Ford will be pulling puppet strings from a council seat.
Peter Loewen, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Toronto, said he would be skeptical of Rob Ford trying to direct his brother’s decisions as mayor, should they respectively become mayor and Ward 2 councillor, despite their similar political agendas.
“I think there is a real surety and a control in Doug Ford that if he were in the mayor’s chair he would listen to the guy in the mirror, not anyone else,” Loewen told Global News.
Loewen said Rob Ford was used to losing some battles in his 10 years as a councillor and is more accustomed to the “give and take of politics.”
“Doug, I get the sense, has a more authoritarian streak. He’s used to being in business where you get your way a little bit more.”
Rob Ford as deputy mayor?
While the Rob Ford may not be at the helm of city council, if he wins the Ward 2 seat, there is a possibility he could serve as his brother’s deputy mayor, should Doug Ford win his race.
“Anyone who is elected to council can be deputy mayor,” said Gabriel Eidelman, also an assistant professor of political science at the University of Toronto.
That happened earlier this year, when Toronto’s current deputy mayor, Norm Kelly, stepped in for Mayor Rob Ford while he sought help for drug and alcohol addiction.
But, Eidelman said you can’t speculate if having the Fords as a mayor-deputy mayor team was a “conceivable” outcome: the election’s still more than six weeks away.
Ahead of the change of plans announced Friday, a Nanos Research poll indicated Rob Ford was in second place behind rival John Tory in the race for mayor. Former NDP MP Olivia Chow was in third place.
Voting for the other Ford
Loewen said the brothers have different qualities that appeal to different voters.
Although the brothers have the same political positions, he explained for voters it could come down to a decision between the brother that’s more “affable,” Rob, and the one who is a bit “more in control,” Doug.
“You’re trading out the more likable brother for the more sober-minded one, no pun intended,” he said.
He said Doug Ford doesn’t have a “lily white past” and there have been questions about his behaviour and “his conduct as a councillor” and business dealings the family business —Deco Labels — has had with municipal clients.
As far as the campaign is concerned, moving forward, Loewen suggested Doug Ford needs to be prepared to answer some tough questions.
“I think those questions have been directed at Rob Ford because he was the bigger target prior to this, but know those questions are going to be rightfully directed at Doug Ford,” he said.