Doug Ford captures PC leadership; local Tories voice support

The new leader of the Progressive Conservative Leader of Ontario and would-be premier of the province, Doug Ford, shown in a 2014 photo. By Bruce Reeve [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

TORONTO — Local Tory MPPs appear to be rallying around their new leader, Doug Ford.

The colourful former Toronto city councillor captured the Progressive Conservative leadership yesterday, edging out Christine Elliott in the third round of preferential voting.

Elliott is reported to be refusing to concede,  citing irregularities, but candidate Caroline Mulroney has fallen into line. “Congratulations to our new leader, Doug Ford,” Mulroney said in Tweet yesterday. “Today, we leave this convention united with one common goal, finally firing Kathleen Wynne.”

The other leadership contender, Tanya Granic Allen, has yet to weigh in on social media regarding Ford’s successful election.

Though he was a supporter of Elliott’s, local MPP Jim McDonell has also voiced his support for the new leader, tweeting his congratulations last night: “Congratulations to our new Leader and next Premier Doug . It’s time to rally around PC Leader Doug Ford and defeat Kathleen Wynne.”

Leeds-Grenville Tory MPP Steve Clark similarly tweeted: “Congratulations to Doug on your election as Leader.”

In a statement to Nation Valley News, Clark further commented: “I congratulate Doug Ford on becoming the new leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. Throughout the leadership race, Doug proved himself to be a tireless and passionate champion for those who have lost jobs and lost hope after 15 years of Liberal waste, scandal and mismanagement. It’s now time for our party to unite and put our focus on the one thing that matters – defeating Kathleen Wynne on June 7 so a PC government can bring opportunity and prosperity back to the hard-working families of Leeds-Grenville and Ontario.”

“Congratulations @fordnation!” tweeted MPP Lisa MacLeod of Nepean-Carleton.

With just weeks to go until the June 7 provincial election, the Official Opposition party was thrust into a quick leadership campaign following the abrupt resignation of former leader Patrick Brown amid unproven allegations of sexual misconduct made against him by two women. Brown briefly entered the leadership race before withdrawing. In recent weeks, the party has been led by an interim leader, Vic Fedeli, who has also congratulated Ford on Twitter: “Congratulations Doug on being elected leader of the ! Looking forward to working with you to bring hope + relief to the people of Ontario.”

This article was edited to reflect additional comments from MPP Steve Clark.

Below, PC Leader Doug Ford pledges to defeat Premier Kathleen Wynne, shortly after being declared the victor in the party’s leadership race.

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