Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has withdrawn from the Toronto mayoral race after being hospitalized and diagnosed with an abdominal tumor. Ford’s brother Doug, who is a Toronto city councillor, will run in his place.
Ford became world famous last year when video emerged of him smoking crack. Other video showed him threatening to kill someone. He also accidentally knocked over a city councillor on the floor of Toronto City Council chambers and also made crude remarks about his sex life with his wife. Ford was always a reviled figure on the Left, but his antics alienated many conservative politicians although he retains a loyal following among a constituency known simply as “Ford Nation”.
I was in Toronto last month. Despite everything Ford has said and done, he was gaining in the polls due a strong performance in the mayoral candidates debate. Still, former Ontario Progressive Conservative Party leader John Tory has the lead in the race while former NDP MP and one time Toronto city councillor Olivia Chow (who is the widow of the late NDP leader Jack Layton) is also a top contender.
As for Rob Ford, he plans to run for Toronto city council in his old seat in the Etobicoke area. He might very well get elected, but at the very minimum he is expected to be hospitalized for at least two months. His illness is such that he might not ever be able to serve in public office again.
Although Ford has made serious mistakes I wish him a speedy recovery.