RYERSONIAN STAFF — The Ryersonian (Ryerson University)
The Ford family makes drastic political changes in the face of Mayor Ford’s new health concerns.
TORONTO — Councillor Doug Ford met with media in front of his mother’s Etobicoke, On. home Friday evening to officially announce he will be running for mayor.
“Over the last four years, we have taken big steps together. We’ve made the city work better for you, to serve you and not special interest groups and the privileged few. We want to build on the progress that Rob has made and so, folks, I’ve officially entered this campaign,” he said.
According to media reports, the city clerk’s office received two sets of withdrawal papers shortly before 1 p.m. on Sept. 12: one for Rob Ford’s mayoral candidacy and one for his nephew Michael Ford, who withdrew his candidacy for councillor of Ward 2.
Jeff Silverstein, Rob Ford’s campaign spokesperson, then registered the mayor as a new Ward 2 candidate and entered Coun. Ford in the mayoral race.
Mayor Ford has been hospitalized since Sept. 10, when he was admitted to Humber River Hospital for unbearable abdominal pain. A CT scan found a tumour in his lower abdomen.
Ford was transferred to Mount Sinai Hospital on Sept. 11, where he underwent a second CT scan and biopsy, the results of which will not be known for one week, according to Dr. Zane Cohen, Ford’s colorectal surgeon.
Coun. Ford was emotional during his press conference. He spoke of his concern for his brother and how Rob is fighting to get better and continue to serve the citizens of Toronto. Teary-eyed, Coun. Ford said even he was surprised by his brother’s depth of commitment this week.
“Despite receiving some very, very difficult news, he only took one minute to process it. His concern turned immediately to his family and then, soon after, to our great city. He told me that he needed me to take the torch while he focuses on getting better.”
After taking a minute to compose himself, Coun. Ford continued by saying he didn’t make the decision lightly. He quoted the mayor as saying, “Doug, together we’ve always been an unstoppable team. And just because I have to sit this one out, it doesn’t mean I won’t be by your side.“
Mayoral candidate Olivia Chow would not comment on Doug Ford’s candidacy. Speaking earlier today from her Yonge and St. Clair campaign office, she told reporters she thinks “it’s important that we give the Ford family space today.”
Mayor Ford “and I and my late husband spent quite a bit of time at city council together so today must have been very difficult for him to step down and not run as mayor. I hope him a speedy recovery so he can be out on the doorsteps of Ward 2,” she said.
John Tory was more vocal about the recent addition to the mayoral race, saying that Doug Ford is “built from the same cloth” as the current mayor, and that “even with the changes today, the choice facing the people has not changed.” Tory also said he respects the mayor’s decision and hopes Mayor Ford gets better.
City councillors were quick to weigh in on the day’s dramatic changes.
Ward 7 Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti released a statement endorsing Coun. Ford for mayor.
Ward 37 Coun. Michael Thompson told The Ryersonian he is not surprised at such a taking-over in “the business of politics.”
“I hope Rob is OK. I wish him well,” said Thompson in a telephone interview.
Ward 31 Coun. Janet Davis said she thinks Coun. Ford will carry on the same style of campaign as his brother, though he may have different policies.
“Doug is a very different person than Rob,” she said.
Ward 30 Coun. Paula Fletcher said if Mayor Ford is ill with cancer, he needs to focus on health and not politics, though the Fords may feel differently.
“Doug running for mayor means politics, and keeping the Ford name in office is the main concern,” Fletcher said.
Coun. Ford has asked the media for a few days to spend some time with his family. After that, he says he will “be in full campaign mode.”
Photo: Flickr/Andrew Louis