Former city councillor Doug Ford kicks off PC leadership campaign
Chris Fox And Chris Herhalt, CTV News Toronto
Published Saturday, February 3, 2018 8:15AM EST
Last Updated Sunday, February 4, 2018 7:57AM EST
PC leadership candidate Doug Ford urged supporters to buy a party membership and bemoaned the phenomenon of “hallway healthcare” in a booming speech in Etobicoke on Saturday night.
Saying there are only 13 days left for those interested in him to spend the $10 to join the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party and be eligible to vote for him next month, Ford urged people to go to his campaign website four separate times in his speech.
“Take memberships home,” he said to supporters at the Toronto Congress Centre, “Take ‘em to your friends and sign up. Please go online to our website and sign up.”
Oscillating between criticism of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s deficit spending and his fledgling vision for the province, Ford focused on his opposition to carbon pricing of any kind, and a need for more healthcare spending.
“Last week, my mom had a little slip. So we went up to Humber River Hospital. My mom was on the stretcher and she was put in the hallway, stacked up,” Ford said. “Our hospitals are forced to provide hallway healthcare.”
He said if elected Premier, the healthcare sector would get “resources” to reduce wait times and curb the practice of putting stretchers in hallways.
“Help is on its way. Resources are on their way and I promise your voices will be heard,” he said.
He echoed the theme of his mayoral campaign, replacing talk about property taxes with talk of congestion, hydro bills and healthcare.
“Friends – you should not have to choose between eating and heating, you shouldn’t have to wait weeks for a doctor – you shouldn’t have to be stuck in traffic for hours every night.”
Ford also further defined his opposition to carbon pricing. He said that not only would he oppose the carbon tax promised by disgraced former PC Party leader Patrick Brown, he would also fight any attempt by Prime Minister Trudeau to impose a federally-designed carbon pricing scheme on Ontario instead.
“If the PM wants to try to make us, I will tell the PM just the same way his father said it, just watch me,” Ford said to applause.
Near the end, Ford said he wanted to have a positive campaign and welcomed other entrants into the race.
Ford will soon be officially joined by York-Simcoe PC candidate Caroline Mulroney, Former PC Party deputy leader Christine Elliott and former Postmedia chair Rod Phillips, sources tell CTV News Toronto.
PC Party members will vote online from March 2-8 and the winner will be announced on March 10.
Ontario voters will head to the polls on June 7.
PCs have record of 132,000 members, not 200,000
The PC Party doesn’t not appear to have the 200,000 paid members Patrick Brown often boasted about, according to an internal party memo obtained by CTV News Toronto.
“On Wednesday January 31, my office asked Party officials to run another report of current members in CIMS and they reported that this showed 127,743 members,” the memo, written by interim leader Vic Fedeli said.
Since Brown’s resignation, another 4,901 memberships were sold, bringing the number of members above 132,000, the memo said.
Fedeli added that the party has stopped paying two regional party organizers and one nominated candidate, but he did not specify who they were.