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Ford brothers lend political muscle at Harper’s final Ontario stop

Former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and his brother Doug, bottom left, listen to Conservative Leader Stephen Harper during a campaign rally in Toronto on Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015. Canadians will go to the polls in the Federal election Oct. 19.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The controversial former Toronto mayor Rob Ford and his brother Doug lent their political muscle to Stephen Harper Saturday night, helping fill a Greater Toronto Area conference hall for the Conservative Leader's final Ontario stop in the 2015 federal election campaign.

Former Toronto city councillor Doug Ford warmed up the crowd for Mr. Harper, boasting of how his brother, Rob, was door knocking and converting voters to the Tories in this campaign.

"No one can change the colours of a street" to Conservative blue like Rob, Doug Ford told the crowd of more than 1,200 at the Toronto Congress Centre in Etobicoke.

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Conservative organizers disputed the media's crowd count, saying 2,200 attended the event. They based that on how many attendance wristbands had been handed out beforehand.

Rob Ford, who has undergone treatment for a rare form of cancer, is a divisive figure among voters, but has retained a loyal block of supporters – even after admitting he had smoked crack cocaine following months of denial.

The former mayor attended the Harper rally and sat near the front but left quickly afterwards without speaking to the media.

Doug Ford said this event was brought together at the last minute.

"The Conservative Party organized this. We brought family and friends," Mr. Ford told reporters.

He said Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is not "competent to run this country" and a government run by him would "drive jobs out of this country and will drive businesses out of this country as well."

"I think it was a pretty good turnout considering they only decided Thursday or Friday – the party did – to hold this event."

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Ford supporters in the crowd scolded the media for paying so much attention to the Ford brothers.

"I think they should all leave the Fords alone … They're always dragging up stuff," Emelia Murphy said of the media. "They should mind their own business and live their own lives."

Asked about allegations in a new book by Mark Towhey, a former Ford chief of staff, that Toronto police had "pulled over the mayor's car late at night on multiple occasions and driven him home rather than charging him for driving under the influence," Doug Ford concluded the scrum and walked away from reporters.

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