Eastern Ontario PC MPPs comment on Doug Ford leadership win

20180306-Christine Elliott and Ross Romano-DT

Rob Ford: brother of late Toronto mayor is new Progressive Conservative leader

It wasn't until late Sunday night that Elliott finally released a statement online to congratulate Ford on winning the Ontario PC leadership race. - That's why our team has spent the last twenty-four hours, rechecking the results of the voting that we have with Ford was incredibly close.

"I think Doug Ford brings a bit of uncertainty at the moment into the campaign".

Ontario heads to the polls June 7.

Ontario voters face a "stark choice" in the June election, Premier Kathleen Wynne said Monday at an event touting government initiatives such as youth pharmacare and post-secondary tuition rebates.

"I'm anxious about Kathleen Wynne, not Christine right now", Ford told reporters as he walked in a St. Patrick's Day parade in Toronto earlier Sunday.

"One doesn't exactly think of the Ford political brand involving bridge-building, reaching out to those who disagree with them to forge compromise or common ground", he said. "They do not want Kathleen Wynne back ..."

"The results are not what we had expected and it took longer to get there than what we anticipated", Romano, who was in Markham at the convention, said.

Nearly immediately after she conceded, Doug Ford responded on Twitter to thank Elliott. Thousands of members' votes, it said, had been assigned to incorrect ridings.

Romano said Ford had a strong following and believes he will be an effective leader.

But Fedeli, who was slated to meet with Ford Sunday afternoon, was quick to point out that Ford is both party leader and "the boss".

Ford says he spoke with Wynne this morning and stressed that she's a respected campaigner who he's not going to underestimate.

"I think he can reach outside of the traditional Conservative base and reach communities the Conservatives have stumbled to attract in past elections", he said, listing the areas around Toronto as an example.

Fifty-three year old Ford is the brother of late Rob Ford, the former mayor of Toronto who gained global notoriety for admitting to smoking crack cocaine while in office.

The governing Liberals and New Democrats have also panned Ford as a step backwards for the Tories, accusing him of currying favour with the party's socially conservative elements.

Like it or not, Doug Ford is on track to become Ontario's next premier. But Elliott can challenge that through the courts if she chooses.

"We've absolutely seen this movie before, whether it was Doug Ford or whether it was Christine Elliott or Tanya Granic Allen or Caroline Mulroney, they all were supporting a platform that would have taken billions of dollars out of public sector workers".

Instead, after a 4.5-hour delay, the chair of the party's leadership election organizing committee dismissed the irate crowd Saturday evening with a terse statement about the need for a review of the results and announced the issue would be resolved in the "short term".

Western University political science professor Cristine de Clercy said it's hard to say just where Ford will take the Tories when it comes to policy, but noted that his populism could pose a problem for his rivals.

Doug Ford is the new leader of Ontario's Progressive Conservatives. The Tories haven't held power since Wynne's predecessor Dalton McGuinty defeated former Premier Ernie Eves in 2003.

"We're going to spend the coming weeks getting the party in fighting shape, because the people of this province are ready for change".

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