Mayor Rob Ford and his brother Doug said Monday they weren’t a bit worried about the entry of radio host John Tory and former TTC Chair Karen Stintz into the race for mayor in 2014.
Indeed, the Fords seemed to relish the fight – rolling out talking points that they hope will stick to the two centre-right contenders for the job that Rob Ford has made clear he intends to fight for.
According to Doug Ford, John Tory, who put his name into the ring bright and early, at 8:30 a.m. Monday, is a “blue blood” whose work for Civic Action belies a willingness to raise taxes and choose light rail over subways.
“You’re looking right now at the blue bloods and the establishment and the elite with John Tory versus the blue collar and hard working folks,” said Doug Ford to reporters as he came into city hall from the parking lot where he drives his SUV in to work. “We’re going to show you over the next months until Oct. 27, we’re going to put our record to being fiscally responsible – having the city booming – and John Tory is going to talk about how when he was part of Civic Action, that he wanted to increase taxes and build LRTs.”
And Rob Ford told radio listeners that as far as he’s concerned, neither Tory nor Stintz – who registered her candidacy 90 minutes after Tory – are fiscal Conservatives.
“They’re revenue-tool-happy,” said the mayor, pointing out that both Stintz and Tory had supported Liberal candidates in the byelection. “They’re not fiscally conservative.”
Mayor Ford spoke with reporters somewhat later at city hall, when he arrived from visiting constituents, as he says he does many mornings that he’s not in attendance at city hall.
Ford maintained that he will happily run on his record, which he claimed included a saving to taxpayers of a billion dollars (a number which city staff say is closer to $400 million) and keeping what he said was 90 per cent of his campaign promises.
“I got my car tax cut through, the vehicle registration through, privatized garbage through, a union deal through – everything I said I would do,” said Ford. “We found a billion dollars and savings. You saw the budget I got through. I got 90 per cent of my agenda through, and let’s just bring on the debates.”
Both Fords were eager to move forward – although it looks as though they’ll be doing so without Nick Kouvalis, widely considered to be the organizational and campaigning force behind Rob Ford’s successful 2010 campaign.
Kouvalis has said that he will be supporting Tory, in part in light of Ford’s well-publicized issues with illegal drugs and alcohol, as well as Ford’s loss of control of Toronto council.
Doug Ford indicated to reporters that Kouvalis still has control of the Ford campaign’s 2010 campaign supporter list through his consulting firm Campaign Research.
“We look forward to getting our campaign list off Campaign Research and Nick Kouvalis, because he refuses to give it to us,” said Ford. “I think Nick Kouvalis has his own reputation to worry about.”
Kouvalis did not respond to attempts to contact him for comment by deadline.