Toronto

Doug Ford blames predecessor's 'mess' for having to appoint 11 candidates

Doug Ford is blaming what he calls the "mess" he inherited from his predecessor for his controversial decision to appoint about a dozen Tory candidates in ridings across the province.

PC leader said he 'hates' the practice, but appointments announced over the weekend

Ontario PC Leader Doug Ford speaks to supporters at a gas station in Caledon Monday morning. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

Doug Ford is blaming the "mess" he inherited from his predecessor for his controversial decision to appoint about a dozen Tory candidates in ridings across Ontario.

The Progressive Conservative leader says the appointments — announced over the weekend — were necessary because of the short time left before the province's spring election campaign begins in early May.

Ford, who criticized former Tory leader Patrick Brown for making appointments in the past, said he loathes the practice.

"I want to emphasize, I hate, hate, appointing people," Ford said Monday. "Unfortunately, the mess that was handed to us from the previous leadership, was quite the disaster to be frank with you there."

Ford said there were 28 ridings without Tory candidates when he took over as leader in March, and his team was able to fill 17 through traditional nomination races. Appointments were made for the remaining 11 ridings on Saturday.

"If we'd continued on with the other 11, it would probably take us right into almost election day," Ford said. "It takes massive resources to put these nominations on."

Several Tory nomination candidates have publicly complained about the appointments, calling them unfair.

'Nominations should be earned,' trustee says

Jake Skinner, a school board trustee in London, Ont., who was seeking the Tory nomination in a riding in that city, said the appointment of another candidate left him "in a state of shock." He said he was informed of the appointment after two years of campaigning for the position.

"As Progressive Conservatives we know that nominations should be earned, not bestowed," he said in a statement.

During the Tory leadership race, made necessary by Brown's abrupt resignation over sexual misconduct allegations in January, Ford repeatedly vowed to clean up a number of the party's controversial nomination races.

"When I'm leader I'm going to make sure they're transparent, people are held accountable and there's going to be integrity here," he said at the Tory leadership debate in late February.

The party reopened several races shortly after Ford was elected leader.

Ontario's election is set for June 7.

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