Our MPP’s appointment to Minister of Multiculturalism and Citizenship led to continuing criticism this week.
Bob Hepburn, a Toronto Star columnist, said “It’s a blatant case of political nepotism — unfair and a misuse of authority” and in “total disregard for political decency”.
Marcus Gee of The Globe and Maildespaired that nobody cares that “Michael Ford owes this appointment – no, his whole political career – entirely to his family connection”. (Though Gee elides the ridings Ford won.)
Both were responding to Premier Doug Ford’s defence of his choice. Premier Ford was asked earlier this week why he appointed his nephew to provincial cabinet—and gave him a $50,000 a year raise.
He said “He just won the seat in York South–Weston that we haven’t won in 71 years. I think he’ll do an extremely good job. He has a lot of knowledge and he’s been an elected official probably longer than 60 per cent of our caucus.”
Michael Ford was also defended by Mayor Tory, who said “I put Michael Ford on the Police Board, which is a very signifant place with significant responsible…. he is thoughtful, he is hard working, he does understand his community as well as anybody else”.
Michael Ford, our MPP and the premier’s nephew, has been made the Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism. He immediately faced accusations that he had got the job through nepotism.
The NDP took issue with his appointment, saying “we have a lot of BIPOC folks wondering… there are plenty of people, people of colour, in Ford’s caucus that could take that position. And he chose to appoint his nephew. And, as we all know, the qualifications there are dubious.” Ford is 28 years old and white.
The NDP respond to the appointment of Michael Ford as Minister of Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism. pic.twitter.com/YpHPVVNqsd
Michael Ford told CityNews, “I totally dismiss that. I’ve been elected to Toronto District School board, I have served on Toronto City Council for a number of years, representing one of the the most diverse communities in one of the most diverse cities in the world.”
Michael Ford won the provincial election last night with 36.6% of the vote. Incumbent NDP candidate Faisal Hassan came a close second, trailing by 800 votes. Liberal candidate Nadia Guerrera came third with 24%.
I found the results surprising. Polls had found the Liberals in second place and the NDP quite far behind. In the end, the NDP came very close to taking the riding.
Ford’s win is historic; it’s the first time since 1955 that a Conservative has eld the seat (when it was York South). He has only a narrow mandate, though; more than 60% of voters supported left-leaning parties.
Ford tweeted “It will be my honour to represent you down at Queens Park and get real results for our community and all Ontario’s working with Premier Ford.”
Tonight, I want to sincerely thank the residents of York South-Weston for putting their trust & confidence in me.
It will be my honour to represent you down at Queens Park and get real results for our community and all Ontarians working with Premier Ford.
Hassan said, “While the results are not what I had hoped for, please know that you can count on me to have your back in the days ahead.”
It’s been an honour to serve the people of #YSW#YorkSouthWeston#onpoli While the results are not what I had hoped for, please know that you can count on me to have your back in the days ahead. Thank you for your continued support. #TOpoli
For years we’ve heard that VIA Rail would love to stop their four daily trains in Weston but that they’re being thwarted by Metrolinx who say that there wouldn’t be enough time for VIA trains to transfer passengers on and off without disrupting UP Express and GO Train schedules. The stop would be an incredible convenience for Weston Residents, would slow the train down as it roars through Weston and would allow eastbound VIA passengers destined for Pearson Airport a short cut instead of having to schlep all the way downtown.
If you go to the VIA Rail site however, they’re still posting Weston’s station address as 39 John Street so maybe an awareness of the new location would indicate a more sincere wish for a Weston stop. Either way, it’s beginning to look highly unlikely that a the devolved passenger arm of a corporate Father of Confederation™ and the mighty execs of Metrolinx will get together to make life easier for actual passengers.
Maybe this is a problem that an election promise could solve.
Mike Ford has had a wildly successful political career. He began as a Toronto school board trustee in 2014, became a Toronto city councillor two years later after the terminal illness of his uncle and former Toronto Mayor, Rob Ford. Now at the ripe old age of 28, Mike Ford has announced he will be running as a candidate for the Progressive Conservatives in the provincial election on June 22. His other famous uncle, Premier Doug Ford holds Etobicoke North and family friend Kinga Surma has Etobicoke Centre – the next nearest local seat is York South Weston where incumbent Faisal Hassan is enjoying a successful first term.
Many naysayers claim that Ford has succeeded on the coat tails of his two famous uncles. That may well have been true at the start of his career but Mike Ford has shown himself to be a good listener and sincere advocate for his constituents while his council votes tend to be on the conservative and frugal side.
No Progressive Conservative candidate has won the York South-Weston seat since the riding was created in 1999. Mark DeMontis came close in 2018 with 33% of the vote compared to 36% for the NDP’s Faisal Hassan. PCs must be confident that Ford has a good shot at the seat as he is a local boy having been raised across the river in Etobicoke; there’s that magic Ford name and no doubt there will have been some local polling to scope out possibilities.
A Mike Ford win depends on a good connection with voters and a reasonably sized Blue Wave hitting the province. That might just happen. According to 338Canada Projection, the PCs currently poll at 37% support to the Liberals’ 28% and the NDP trails at 25% – with the usual caveats that anything can happen between now and June. In recent months, Doug Ford seems to have moved his party to the centre, is now in favour of lefty things like a higher minimum wage – he’s even encouraging electric cars. His removal of the mask mandate from much of daily life has pleased his base and infuriated the provincial Liberal and NDP parties. At the same time, Ford is positioning himself as the best friend of the federal Liberals and the man who can work with them. The main strategy seems to be to attack the NDP while giving the Del Duca Liberals nowhere to go.
My prediction; a tough local fight that will push both Faisal Hassan and Mike Ford to their limits. Will the Ford name nudge the younger candidate over the top or will it be a liability? There is no doubt that the riding will be well served by whoever gets in. Hassan is accessible and has worked hard during his term, setting up a storefront office on Weston Road right in downtown Weston. Mike Ford will have enviable connections.
One thing for certain; this will be a devastating loss for one of these two candidates.