Doug Ford: Ex-Toronto mayor’s brother set to be Ontario premier

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Doug Ford Image copyright Getty Images

Doug Ford, the brother of troubled former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, is on course to be elected the premier of Canada’s most populous province.

Mr Ford’s centre-right Progressive Conservatives (PC) are projected to defeat the Ontario Liberals, who have been in power since 2003.

The 53-year-old former city councillor was close to his brother Rob, who died in 2016 of a rare cancer.

A populist politician, he invited comparisons to US President Trump.

Mr Ford is known for his plain-speaking style and attacks on media and the elites – whom he once described as “drinking champagne with their pinkies in the air”.

Mr Ford has voiced support for Donald Trump, though he has dismissed the direct comparison and has been careful to avoid controversial comments during the hotly contested race for Ontario.

The final days of the campaign saw the PCs in a neck-and-neck battle with the left-leaning New Democrats, with most polls showing them holding a knife-edge lead over their rivals.

Mr Ford ran a populist campaign, promising to fight for “the little guy” and to make life more affordable for Ontario residents by cutting energy cost, slashing the price of petrol, and lowering provincial income tax.

He also vowed to challenge federal carbon pricing plans and to repeal the province’s cap-and-trade programme.

But he faced criticism for failing to fully explain to voters how he plans to cut C$6bn ($4.6bn; £3.4bn) from the province’s budget.

Late in the election, his campaign was also rocked by a lawsuit filed by Rob Ford’s widow, Renata.

In the claim, Renata Ford alleged Doug and his brother Randy mismanaged the family business and mishandled her late husband’s estate.

Both men denied the allegations, which have not been tested in court, with Mr Ford calling them “absolutely false” and “without merit”.

As Toronto mayor, Rob Ford gained international notoriety for his scandals, outlandish public acts, and drug use, including admitting to smoking crack cocaine.

He won the mayoral election in 2010 with votes from the so-called “Ford Nation” – a political movement of mainly suburban voters around Toronto that formed the core of his support.

During Rob Ford’s time running Toronto, the brothers were inseparable, with Doug Ford once referring to himself as “co-mayor”.

A businessman who inherited the family’s label-making business, Mr Ford only recently entered provincial politics.

The PC party was forced to hold a last-minute leadership election in March after its former leader resigned over allegations of sexual misconduct.

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Media captionDoug Ford: “He told me that he needed me to take the torch while he focuses on getting better”

Mr Ford, who had previously announced that he would be taking a second run this year at becoming mayor of Toronto, instead entered and won that leadership race.

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