The 49-year-old current city councillor kicked off an afternoon of door-knocking in the Etobicoke North ward he represents on Saturday — three days after it was announced that Mayor Rob Ford was diagnosed with a rare malignant tumour.
“We are so humbled and grateful for the overwhelming support of everyone across Toronto,” Doug Ford told dozens of cheering volunteers at his campaign office near Kipling Avenue and Highway 401.
“Now it’s time to get out there and meet the people.”
Ford said he and his supporters will be campaigning across the city on a “vision of continuing prosperity” until the Oct. 27 municipal election.
Ford entered the mayoral race on Sept. 12, two days after his younger brother went to hospital complaining of a pain in his abdomen.
Citing his health problems, Rob Ford dropped out of the mayoral race and is now vying to replace his brother Doug as councillor of Toronto’s Ward 2, a position the mayor held from 2000 until he was elected Toronto's chief magistrate in 2010.
Doug Ford has said he wants to carry on the mayor’s agenda of slowing spending and pushing for the construction of subway lines instead of street-level light-rail transit.
In a recorded audio statement released Thursday, the mayor thanked supporters for their well-wishes and endorsed his brother’s election campaign.
"Last week, I asked my brother to carry the torch and continue the work that we started together," Rob Ford said. "I'm happy that he’s agreed. Toronto needs Doug Ford as mayor."
Mayor's cancer diagnosis
On Wednesday, it was revealed that the mayor had been diagnosed with a malignant liposarcoma, a cancer of the fatty tissue. Dr. Zane Cohen, who is leading the mayor’s medical team, said the tumour is both rare and aggressive.
The mayor was set to start chemotherapy to treat his malignant tumour Friday. He will undergo chemotherapy for three days while remaining at the hospital, and then spend most of the following 18 days at home, said Cohen, a surgeon at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital.
Ford will undergo the same regimen again before doctors assess how the tumour is responding to treatment, Cohen said.
Early polling after Doug Ford’s entrance into the race suggests he has inherited much of his brother’s support. Before he dropped out of the campaign to focus on his health, the mayor was among main contenders in the race, but consistently polled well behind front-runner John Tory.
Tory, as well fellow mayoral contender Olivia Chow, have expressed their well-wishes for the mayor in his fight against cancer. However, both have said they’ll continue to criticize the Fords' policies in the lead-up to the Oct. 27 election.
"Let's remember, we're talking about policies, not individuals," Chow said Wednesday.