Stephen Harper called the Ford brothers a â€śbunch of losersâ€ť a year before they showed up to sit front row at one of his re-election rallies, according to CTVâ€™s Robert Fife.
The veteran political reporter made the revelation during a Tuesday taping of â€śPower Play.â€ť Fife said he had spoken with staffers involved in John Toryâ€™s Toronto mayoral campaign earlier in the day who were chuckling about Rob and Doug Fordâ€™s cameo at Harperâ€™s Etobicoke Centre campaign stop.
â€śWhen Mr. Tory was running against Doug Ford, the prime minister and Laureen Harper were telling John Tory how much they wanted Doug to lose and that Doug and Rob were a bunch of losers,â€ť said Fife.
â€śAnd now theyâ€™ve resorted to the desperation of having Rob and Doug Ford in an audience â€” and a very small audience at that,â€ť he said. The latest Nanos poll tracked Liberals leaping ahead of Conservatives with a seven-point lead in support.
The two brothers were introduced at the event as â€śtwo great sons of Etobicoke Centre.â€ť
â€” Don Peat (@reporterdonpeat) October 13, 2015
Harper was asked twice by reporters on Wednesday about his campaign, one that has been touting a tough-on-crime agenda, being associated with the Ford brothers.
The Conservative leader brushed off insinuations by saying his partyâ€™s tough-on-crime stance is â€śvery well known.â€ť He referred to the brothers as â€śindividualsâ€ť and acknowledged their â€ślong-standingâ€ť support for the party.
On Tuesday, Harper did not shake hands with ex-city councillor Doug or his younger brother ex-Toronto mayor Rob, the latter who became infamous with a crack-smoking scandal that dogged his time in office.
Rob chose to keep to himself, but his attendance was picked up by U.S. news outlets including New York Magazine, who referred to Ford as â€śAmericaâ€™s favourite Canadian politician.â€ť
Doug did speak to reporters and repeated a familiar Conservative party line, saying the central issue in this election is â€śall about the economy.â€ť
With files from The Canadian Press