US & Canada

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

Doug Ford Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Doug Ford's Conservatives managed to beat the Liberals, who have controlled Ontario since 2003

Doug Ford, the brother of troubled former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, has been elected premier of Canada's most populous province.

Mr Ford's centre-right Progressive Conservatives (PC) wrested control of Ontario from the Liberal Party for the first time since 2003.

The populist has been compared to US President Donald Trump.

A former city councillor, he was close to his late brother Rob, who infamously took drugs in office.

The Conservatives took 41% of the vote, winning 76 of 124 seats in the province, according to local media.

At a low-key news conference on Friday, Mr Ford said: "We will have much more to share with the people of Ontario in the coming days and weeks.

"The most important thing is getting our fiscal house in order."

Prime Minister and Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau offered his "sincere congratulations" to Mr Ford in a statement, tweeting that "Ontarians have voted for change".

Mr Ford, 53, 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".

The premier-designate - whose political experience is limited - has voiced support for Donald Trump, though he has dismissed any direct comparison and was careful to avoid controversial comments during the hotly contested race for Ontario.

Mr Ford said he has promised Mr Trudeau to fully support him in his trade confrontation with Mr Trump.

The premier-designate said on Friday: "I'm very sincere when I say that. United we stand as a country."

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.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Doug Ford (r) was close to his brother Rob Ford (l), who served as the mayor of Toronto before his death in 2016

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 his brother's widow, Renata.

Rob Ford died in 2016 of a rare form of cancer.

In the legal action, Renata Ford alleged Doug and another of his brothers, Randy, had mismanaged the family business and mishandled her late husband Rob'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.

Rob Ford 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".

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

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.

Mr Ford entered and won the province leadership race, abandoning his plan to run for mayor of Toronto for the second time.

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