Archives

When Ontarians got an early glimpse at Doug Ford's provincial ambitions

Six years ago, Doug Ford was challenging the leadership at Queen's Park on transit when he was still a city councillor.

In 2013, Ford opposed the provincial direction on subways and stated his intent to become an MPP

In 2013, Toronto Coun. Doug Ford said he would make a run at provincial politics in a spring election that didn't end up being called. 0:55

Six years ago, Doug Ford was throwing down the gauntlet and challenging the leadership at Queen's Park.

He didn't work there yet, though: the future Ontario premier was then a part of the Toronto council led by his late brother, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

From his council seat, however, Doug Ford was challenging the premier at the time, Kathleen Wynne, who had won the Liberal leadership just three months earlier.

His beef had to do with transit — an issue that is perpetually debated in Toronto, including when Ford and his brother were at City Hall.

Ford said he opposed the province looking to the possible use of revenue tools — road tolls or taxes among possible options — to fund subways. He signalled that transit-building should be done in a different way: by making budget cuts. 

"It's just tax on top of tax on top of tax," Ford said. "And if the premier can't find two per cent efficiencies, annually, to fund subways, then she shouldn't be premier."

Ford claimed the premier's interest in revenue tools was motivating him to consider making a bid for a provincial seat. 

'Lots of luck'

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne did not call a spring election in 2013, but led the then-governing Liberals to a majority win the following year. In 2018, she would face -- and lose -- an election with Doug Ford leading the PCs. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

No spring election, however, was on the horizon that year — nor was a provincial run for Ford.

"I'm not planning an election in May," said Wynne, who also wished "any candidate who wants to throw his or her hat in the ring lots of luck."

Ford's apparent plan to make a provincial run seemed to catch his well-known brother by surprise.

"Why, is he running?" Mayor Rob Ford said, before starting to laugh. 

He later said his brother would be "an excellent MPP," noting that Doug Ford would be following in their father's footsteps. (Their father, Doug Ford Sr., had served a single term as a PC MPP, during the first term of the PC government led by Premier Mike Harris in the 1990s.)

A delayed debut

In September 2014, Doug Ford stepped in to run for mayor in place of his ailing brother, Rob Ford. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

The next election in Ontario wouldn't come for another year and when it did, the Wynne-led Liberals were victorious and Doug Ford's name did not appear on any provincial ballots.

Ford instead made a failed bid to be the mayor of Toronto later that year, taking the place of his ailing brother. But it was John Tory who succeeded Rob Ford.

Eventually, Doug Ford would make his entry to provincial politics — about five years later than expected.

In March 2018, Ford won the leadership of the Ontario PC party and he then led his party to a majority government win at the polls that June.

Subway plans announced

Ontario Premier Doug Ford's government is committing $11.2 billion, more than a third of a roughly $30-billion new transit infrastructure plan for the Greater Toronto Area. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

On Wednesday, Ford announced the Ontario government's plans for transit investment in Toronto and in neighbouring regions.

The newly unveiled plans from the province call for spending $28.5 billion on a handful of key projects, with the provincial government intending to pay $11.2 billion of that total.

The details on how the remaining $17 billion in funding will be acquired, however, are not yet clear.