Wynne welcomes Ford's challenge, but no election looming
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne welcomes the prospect of Toronto city councillor Doug Ford entering provincial politics, but says she has no intention of calling an election anytime soon.
"I think it's always a great thing when people decide to throw their hat in the ring," Wynne told reporters when asked to respond to Ford's confirmation that he would seek a seat at Queen's Park if an election is called for May.
During an interview on Toronto talk radio station CFRB earlier Wednesday, Ford said he was "challenging Kathleen Wynne" to call Ontarians to the polls.
"In my opinion, she knows she's going to lose if she calls the next election," he added.
But in the event the premier does drop the writ, Ford said he wants his name on the ballot.
"If she calls it in May, I'm willing to jump into the race and help turn this province around," he said.
Ford confirmed his intentions in a separate appearance on talk radio station AM640.
"Call an election, Kathleen Wynne, in May and I will run. I will guarantee it and we will defeat you," Ford said. "We will make sure this province is going in the right direction."
Ford has previously hinted he would seek a run for the Conservatives in the riding of Etobicoke North, but he did not mention where he might seek a nomination in the event of a springtime vote.
Asked to explain his newfound conviction, Ford told CP24's Stephen LeDrew that he was compelled to commit by the premier herself.
"Let's say Kathleen Wynne clarified my thoughts this morning," he said, referring to Wynne's comments on the Metrolinx proposals to raise $50 billion over 25 years for its "Big Move" plan.
"I can't comprehend, Stephen, how Wynne can justify putting a $50-billion-a-year burden on the backs of taxpayers."
Resurrecting the campaign slogan that saw his older brother Rob elected to the mayor's office in 2010, Ford said he would run on a platform aimed at saving taxpayers' money.
"The people of Ontario are fed up, they need new leadership, and we're going to down there and we're going to stop the gravy train in Ontario," he said.
Ford admitted he does not expect to have to follow through on his commitment, however, explaining that, "I don't believe Kathleen Wynne will call an election."
Pressed to clarify whether he would run if Wynne calls an election sometime after the spring, Ford would only say, "Let's cross that bridge when we come to it."
In her comments, Wynne signalled Ford might have some time to wait.
"It's our intention to govern," she said, reminding reporters what she said in her recent run for the Liberal leadership.
"I'm running to govern, and I believe that the people of Ontario want to see the minority government work."
Since his election to city council in 2010, Ford has been a staunch supporter of his older brother Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. And the family is no stranger to provincial politics, as the Ford brothers' father Doug Ford Sr. served as an MP from 1995 until 1999, in the Conservative government of then-premier Mike Harris.