Doug Ford touts 'united' Ontario PC caucus at Toronto rally
'My friends, together we will take back this province. Together we will get rid of Kathleen Wynne'
Ontario's new Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford celebrated what he called a "united" party at a rally in Toronto on Monday.
Speaking to supporters at the Toronto Congress Centre in Etobicoke, Ford said the party has "a united caucus, a united group of candidates ... that's going to work for each and every one of you."
Party officials said over 2,000 people attended the rally.
Ford also promised supporters he would deliver "a strong, stable, majority government" in the upcoming provincial election, and put Premier Kathleen Wynne and the governing Liberal Party on notice.
"I can assure you the Liberals are watching us tonight," he told the crowd. "And I can assure you, they are worried. They are terrified when they see a united party like the PC party."
What a fabulous turnout to hear Doug <a href="https://twitter.com/fordnation?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@fordnation</a> talk about bringing change and making Ontario open for business again. <a href="https://t.co/GyuBxZGSmP">pic.twitter.com/GyuBxZGSmP</a>—@VictorFedeli
Ford said he wants to revitalize the province's manufacturing sector and make Ontario "the best place in the world to do business."
He also called on Ontarians of all political stripes to join together against Wynne.
"My friends, together we will take back this province. Together we will get rid of Kathleen Wynne."
'Doug is the man to do it'
Ford's pro-business message and calls for unity to defeat Wynne resonated with many at the rally.
"Kathleen Wynne is just destroying the province," Alex Weiss told CBC Toronto. "I want to see someone in power who's pro-business, that's going to let business flourish in this province."
Along with beating the Liberals, Weiss said Ford will also clean up the corruption in the PC party.
Lenny Attard said "the Liberals are ready for the picking," and believes Ford, who he describes as an "average-person type of guy," is the right person to do it.
"He's going places, and I wish his brother Rob was here," he said, referring to Ford's late brother, the former Toronto mayor Rob Ford.
Randy Heshka said Ford has "a good team behind him" that will help him win.
"He's a very strong leader, He's not putting up with it anymore, and we need a very strong person to crush the Liberals and repair the damage that they've done over the past 10-15 years.
"Enough is enough, and Doug is the man to do it."
Prominent Tories attend 'unity rally'
Along with supporters, many prominent Tories also attended the so-called "unity rally," including former interim leader Vic Fedeli and the three candidates Ford beat for the party leadership — Caroline Mulroney, Tanya Granic Allen and Christine Elliott.
Elliott, who came second behind Ford, initially contested his victory before throwing her support behind him.
Speaking with CBC Toronto, Granic Allen said the PC party has "a message that will win."
"People are now motivated. They're all behind Doug," she said.
"And we're going to continue… until we beat Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals who've ruled this province for far too long."
The Progressive Conservative leadership contest was triggered by the resignation of former leader Patrick Brown amid sexual harassment allegations.
The Tories have been leading in the polls despite the turmoil they've been in since Brown stepped down in January.
Ontario's provincial election is expected to be held on June 7.
With files from CBC's Taylor Simmons and The Canadian Press