Councillor Doug Ford has found some common ground with the woman aiming to unseat his brother from the mayor’s office, agreeing with Olivia Chow that Toronto’s 10-month municipal election period is too long.
“I don’t think it takes the people of Toronto that long to figure out who they are voting for,” Mr. Ford said Tuesday after joining Ms. Chow at the back of the council chamber, where she had attracted a crowd.
“My gosh, wow,” Ms. Chow responded as cameras and reporters circled her and Mr. Ford, who is the campaign manager for his brother Rob Ford.
Ms. Chow wants the campaign cut to four months and argues that is plenty of time to allow candidates to gain recognition among voters and get their message out.
Other candidates in the race for mayor were quick to disagree.
John Tory called Ms. Chow’s proposal a “solution in search of a problem,” saying a shorter campaign could give incumbents a further advantage.
Councillor Karen Stintz, also running for mayor, said in a statement that a shorter campaign “is not in the interest of our local democracy,” and would give the edge to candidates with party affiliations – such as Ms. Chow.
Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly also weighed in, saying that cutting the campaign time would make it more difficult for candidates to raise the needed funds.
Under the current rules, candidates can register on the first business day of the election year – something Rob Ford did bright and early on Jan. 2 of this year.
Still, Doug Ford said Thursday that the race won’t really get going until the day the mayor returns from his time off in rehab on July 1. “That’s when the election is going to start,” he said.
While he stood shoulder to shoulder with Ms. Chow in front of the cameras, Mr. Ford took the opportunity to take a few digs at the mayor’s main rivals.
“There’s only one candidate, folks, here in Toronto that’s for subways and that’s Rob Ford,” he said as Ms. Chow, who favours a light rail line in Scarborough, looked on.
He later added, “I gotta say one thing about Olivia Chow, at least you know where Olivia Chow is coming from. I can’t say the same thing for John Tory.”
With a report from Ann Hui.