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.

It’s back to Ward 11 – for now.

From the Toronto Star.

Premier Doug Ford’s surprise re-alignment of city wards from 47 to 25 seats has been kicked into touch by a Superior Court judge this morning after a challenge by a group of concerned citizens. The judge cited the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and called  his legislation unconstitutional. He made it clear that Ford’s actions were unjustifiable. No doubt Mr. Ford will be railing at ‘elite’ judges this morning but he now finds himself in a serious quagmire with his latest legal setback. If he doesn’t appeal, there’s just enough time for the election to go ahead with 47 seats instead of Ford’s 25 that would have matched provincial ridings. These 47 seats were the result of much consultation and expense to better reflect increased populations in the downtown core. The 47 seat count is likely to produce several more left-wing councillors as downtowners tend to vote in that direction.

If Ford appeals, either the October 22 poll date will have to be delayed – a decision will take weeks – or we’ll keep the original date and hold a 25-seat election. Either way, an appeal will be a disruptive and constitutionally risky event.

What’s a premier to do? My guess is that he will forego the appeal but ask his lawyers to look for ways to sideline Council’s future decisions. One idea already floated is to expropriate important City assets such as our subway system.

Locally, Ward 11 Councillor Frances Nunziata will not be facing Ward 12’s Frank Di Giorgio and Ms. Nunziata’s main challenger, Chiara Padovani will now be able to focus her finances and resources on our section of York South-Weston.  On the other side of the water, in Greater Weston™, it’s back to being in Ward 2, most likely represented by (barring an apocalyctic event)  Premier Ford’s nephew Mike.