Mike Ford wants YSW MPP seat.

What’s in a name?

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.

Councillor Mike Ford (L) talks to constituents at the official opening of the Raymore Park off-leash area in July 2017. (file).

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.