Doug Ford welcomed in eastern Ontario during 1st campaign rallies
PC leader questioned about local candidate's health care stance
Supporters rushed to meet Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford as he got off his bus next to a café in Carp Wednesday afternoon on his first stop in Ontario's official campaign period.
He was greeted in the rural west Ottawa community by people taking selfies, shaking hands and a woman who thanked him for restoring her faith in politics.
Mika Lakhani, 18, came from Kanata with his two-day-old copy of the book Ford wrote with his brother, the late former mayor of Toronto Rob Ford.
Lakhani said he will be voting for the first time and plans to support Ford and the PCs.
"From a policy standpoint, I really like some of his ideas in regards to getting rid of provincial [income] tax on minimum wage workers," Lakhani said.
"I think that populism is just a general trend. I care more about the policies and a lot of the ideas he's pushing."
Health care questions
Ford did face questions from reporters about the Ontario PC candidate in Kanata-Carleton, Merrilee Fullerton, who is running in the riding including Carp.
Liberal candidate John Fraser said hundreds of Fullerton's tweets suggest she supports two-tier health care.
Fullerton, who is a doctor, told reporters she supports universal healthcare and Ford stood by his candidate.
I am 100% committed to Ontario’s public health care system. Under Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals, wait times have gotten longer and hallway Healthcare has continued to grow. I will work with our front line doctors and nurses, toward better care for the people.—@doctorfullerton
"This whole community has a great deal of respect for Merrillee. We appreciate her running," Ford said.
"She's going to be an incredible candidate, she served under the public healthcare and continues to serve under that."
Ford said the PCs would put $1.9 billion into mental health and addiction services and add thousands of long-term care beds in the province.
Renfrew rally attracts 100s
Later in the day, hundreds of people packed the Renfrew Armouries to hear Ford speak.
Ford focused on the pay of the CEO of HydroOne, pledging to scrap the sex-ed curriculum and fighting the federal government's carbon tax plan.
"Nothing's more frustrating [than] every time you stick your hand in your pocket, you have Kathleen Wynne's hand in one pocket and you have Justin Trudeau's hand in the other pocket," Ford said to an uproar from the audience.
Elizabeth Burke said she trusted Ford's experience and the political experience he gained in Toronto city hall while his brother was mayor and he was a councillor.
"I think he stands up for what the people want, not necessarily what the whole world wants, and I think he's got a background to make wise choices with our money," Burke said.
Ron Groskleg said Ford was offering the only genuine change, especially when it came to government spending.
"Ontario is in a hole right now and going toward a bigger hole, and their [Liberal and NDP] attitude is, well, let's keep digging," Groskleg said.
"Whereas Doug Ford's plan is to stop digging, get out, take a look at what's going on in the province and find solutions."