Toronto election ends the Ford era


Published: Tuesday 28th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Toronto elected a moderate conservative as mayor, ending the Rob Ford era marked by scandals over his illegal drug use and public drunkenness.

John Tory, a former chief executive of major cable company Rogers Communications, had 40% of the vote, compared to 34% for Doug Ford, brother of outgoing mayor Rob Ford.

Left-leaning Olivia Chow was third with nearly 23%. The results were announced with more than 90% of polling stations reporting.

Rob Ford’s four-year tenure as mayor of Canada’s largest city was marred by his drinking and crack cocaine use.

He announced last month he would not seek re-election as he battles a rare form of cancer. His brother, a city councillor, ran in his place.

Doug Ford’s supporters booed when he congratulated Mr Tory on his victory. Doug Ford later said the scandals played a part in the loss but said he was “super proud” of his brother.

“I still believe he’s the best mayor ever,” Doug Ford said.

However, Rob Ford will not disappear from Toronto politics any time soon.

Despite the cancer, he opted to seek the city council seat held by his brother from the Etobicoke district in western Toronto where he launched his political career.

He won his old seat in a landslide yesterday and strongly hinted he may seek to run for mayor again in four years.

“In four more years, you’re going to see another example of the Ford family never, ever, ever giving up,” he said.

After months of denials, Rob Ford last year acknowledged he had smoked crack cocaine in one of his “drunken stupors,” but he refused to resign.

The city council stripped him of most of his powers but lacked the authority to force him out of office because he was not convicted of a crime.

Rob Ford announced he was entering rehab for drugs and alcohol in April after newspaper reports detailed three nights in which he was extremely intoxicated.

One report was about a video that appeared to show him smoking a crack pipe again – nearly a year after reports of a similar video first brought international attention.

When he was elected mayor in 2010, his drug and alcohol use were not known – but his bluster was.

Voters backed him, eager to shake things up at a city hall they viewed as elitist and wasteful. His voter base lived mainly in those outer suburbs like Etobicoke.

He appealed to those residents with his populist, common man touch and with promises to slash spending, cut taxes and end what he called “the war on the car”.

He first won as mayor by promising to “stop the gravy train” of government spending. But Toronto got more turmoil than expected.

Tory, 60, a veteran moderate conservative politician and adviser, has also served as commissioner of the Canadian Football League and more recently hosted a radio talk show. He ran for mayor in 2003 and lost.

Tory has promised to end the circus at city hall and to get people moving with a new public transit plan.

Published: Tuesday 28th October 2014 by The News Editor

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