TORONTO, Sept 13 ― Toronto Mayor Rob Ford withdrew his bid for re-election after being hospitalised with an abdominal tumour. His brother Doug Ford will run instead.
“My heart is heavy when I tell you that I’m unable to continue my campaign for re-election as your Mayor,” Rob Ford, who grabbed international headlines last year after saying he had smoked crack cocaine, announced in a statement today. “Now I could be facing a battle of my lifetime, and I want the people of Toronto to know that I intend to face this challenge head on, and win.”
Rob Ford had been campaigning since June after spending two months in rehab. His brother will now be up against candidates including former Rogers Communications Inc executive John Tory and Olivia Chow, a former federal parliamentarian and wife of the late leader of the New Democratic Party, Jack Layton.
“I’ve asked Doug to finish what we started together, so that all we’ve accomplished isn’t washed away,” Ford said in the statement. Rob Ford has also filed to run as councilor of Etobicoke, the role he held for a decade before being voted as mayor four years ago.
Ford, 45, was transferred to Mount Sinai Hospital yesterday from Humber River Regional Hospital, where he was admitted September 10 and found to have an abdominal tumour after complaining of stomach pain for months.
Ford was scheduled to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging test, or MRI, scan today and doctors were set to meet with family members to talk about next steps, Doctor Zane Cohen said yesterday. The tumour is a “fair size,” Cohen said.
The election for mayor is set for October 27 and the deadline for candidates to withdraw was today.
Doug Ford vowed to continue the work of his brother if elected, praising the city’s prosperity under his brother’s administration in a news conference in Toronto today. He said he will only start discussing his campaign next week as he and family focus on supporting his brother in the next few days.
“We’re all about family,” he said. “Please say a prayer for Rob.”
Rob Ford has been under scrutiny since he became mayor in 2010, being voted in with a landslide victory after campaigning to “stop the gravy train.”
In November, he said he smoked crack in a “drunken stupor.” In April, he took a leave from the mayoral campaign after The Globe and Mail newspaper published photos alleged to show him smoking from a crack pipe. He spent two months in rehab and returned to city hall June 30.
“I’m not going to comment about Doug Ford as a candidate. I do look forward to debating him in the future,” Chow said at a press conference today. “What Doug Ford is like, we shall see.”
Tory wasn’t as generous.
“I don’t think Doug Ford offers Toronto more of the same, ― in fact he may offer Toronto something that is worse,” Tory said at a separate media conference today. Doug Ford “has repeatedly put down the members of city council, who were his colleagues, and he has publicly disparaged the premier of this province and members of the cabinet. He’s been insensitive to a number of our communities.”
Doug Ford is a councilor in Etobicoke where he lives with his wife Karla and has four daughters: Krista, Kayla, Kara, and Kyla. He attended Carleton University and Humber College.
Doug Ford, like his brother, has faced recent scrutiny. The Globe and Mail newspaper reported last year he was an alleged hashish dealer in the 1980s, which he denied. Many of his political views are similar to those of his brother, whom he frequently supported during city hall meetings and on whose behalf he spoke to the media.
“It smacks of nepotism and that’s inappropriate from a political and corporate governance point of view,” said Richard Leblanc, an associate professor of law, corporate governance and ethics at York University, on the phone from Toronto. “It’ll change the debate. We don’t know where the Ford supporters will go. You vote for Doug, you might get Rob by association.” ― Bloomberg