Toronto mayor’s brother Doug Ford considers move to provincial politics

Toronto city councillor Doug Ford says he will run for the Ontario Progressive Conservatives if Premier Kathleen Wynne were to call a spring election.

Wednesday seemed like the right time for Toronto Coun. Doug Ford, brother and sometimes-spokesperson of Mayor Rob Ford, to re-announce his intention to run for provincial politics.

The relentless, right-of-centre, first-term city councillor dropped the news on AM640, seemingly as a challenge to goad Premier Kathleen Wynne into launching an early election.

“Call an election Kathleen Wynne in May and I will run. I will guarantee it and we will defeat you, and we will make sure the fiscal ship of this province is going in the right direction,” Ford told the John Oakley Show.

Wynne does not currently have plans to call an election in May, although she said she’s campaign any time on the need for new infrastructure.

[ Related: Rob Ford supporters deny he has a drinking problem ]

Wynne told Newstalk 1010's Katie Franzios as much following Ford's proclamation.

All that is fine, but the real question is: What impact would Doug Ford’s decision to run provincially have on his brother’s municipal administration?

With Rob Ford facing a notoriously split council, every ally is vital. And there has been no fiercer or more loyal ally than his brother, Doug. Not surprisingly, the Fords share opinions on the key issues, from the need for subways to their distaste for taxes and road tolls.

Not only that, but Doug Ford tends to step into the forefront and speak for the mayor at times when his brother would prefer to remain out of the spotlight. During recent controversies involving accusations of alcoholism and public impropriety, it was Doug who went on attack on his behalf.

Of course, the cost might be worth it should Doug win. “I think I can help city hall a lot more provincially,” the Globe and Mail quoted him as saying last year. “We’ll have Rob taking care of the city, I’ll be focusing on the province and we’ll get the job done.”

The Ontario Progressive Conservatives seemed open to the idea of their municipal ally joining their flock.

"We are very happy that someone of Doug Ford's stature is considering running for us as a candidate. We think he has done a great job fighting waste and overspending at city hall and we would welcome him," Ontario PC communication director Alan Sakach told Yahoo! Canada News.

Sakach did not address what toll Ford's absence would take on allies in Toronto's city hall, saying their main concern was fixing problems at the provincial level.

This is not the first time Doug Ford has threatened to add his clout to Tim Hudak's Progressive Conservative Party.

There was speculation he was eying a jump to Queen's Park within months of winning his brother's former municipal seat in 2010. He also hinted at running in a possible summer election last year, and his ambitions were more recently in the spotlight when it appeared his brother might be thrown from office.

[ More Brew: Why Toronto's Rob Ford should run for provincial politics ]

Reports suggested that, should Rob Ford have been stripped of his mayoralty, Doug might have moved to replace his brother and allow him to chase a seat at Queen's Park.

Doug Ford would likely run in Etobicoke North, a riding that Liberal incumbent Shafiq Qaadri has held comfortably for the last three elections. But he would presumably bring the support of his brother’s “Ford Nation” and the legacy of his father, who was an MPP in the region during the Mike Harris era.

Etobicoke North currently does not have a Conservative candidate lined up, and Sakach says the party will be in contact with Ford about the chances of an election.

“We are always having conversations with interested individuals,” he said.