POLITICS
01/03/2014 12:13 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 10:52 EST

Doug Ford Still Considering Leap To Ontario Provincial Politics

CP

It seems Doug Ford hasn't given up on the dream.

It was announced Thursday that the outspoken Toronto city councillor will manage his brother's re-election campaign for mayor while also keeping his eye out for an Ontario provincial election, expected this spring.

Mayor Rob Fordtold Newstalk 1010 that his brother won't be running for a spot on council in October and may have bigger fish to fry.

"I don't want to say anything, but he could be the next MPP for Etobicoke North in a few months," Rob Ford said of his older brother.

Doug Ford confirmed to The Toronto Star that while his top priority is getting his brother re-elected, he is watching Queen's Park closely.

"I'm pretty confident there will be a provincial election in the spring, and we'll see," Doug Ford said.

In some respects, this news isn't surprising. Doug Ford has long been rumoured to be interested in running for the Ontario Progressive Conservatives and was reportedly approached to run for the party in 2011.

And the Ontario riding of Etobicoke North is one of just a handful without a declared Tory candidate.

But some believe the mayor's scandalous behaviour and an investigative report last year by The Globe and Mail which alleged that Doug Ford sold hashish as a youngster in Etobicoke may have doomed his candidacy. Doug Ford has denied he was ever a drug dealer.

In early November, Rob Ford denied his issues, including admitted drug use and "drunken stupors," would hamper his brother's political future.

"Doug will be provincial, he will be premier someday," Rob Ford told a Toronto radio show.

And Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak has not ruled out Doug Ford running for his party, The Toronto Star reports.

"My answer on these questions hasn't changed. The party has a process for determining who candidates will be. We don't know when the election is going to be," Hudak told reporters in November.

"But look, a lot has happened in the last few weeks and I suspect a lot more is going to happen in the weeks ahead. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."

But some are warning Hudak that the risks involved in a Doug Ford candidacy are not worth the potential reward of one Toronto seat.

HuffPost Canada's Eric Grenier recommended back in November that Hudak consider denouncing the Fords in order to woo moderate, centrist voters.

"By forcefully distancing himself from someone like Doug Ford, Hudak would, by comparison, make himself seem more moderate and palatable to the centrist voters he actually needs to win the next election," Grenier wrote. "By not ruling out the possibility of a Doug Ford candidacy, Hudak instead appears to be lacking good judgment."

Around that time, Rob Ford told the CBC's Peter Mansbridge that, unlike federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Hudak did not call to offer him support when the crack scandal erupted.

"I don't really know Tim Hudak that much," Rob Ford said.

"But do you think he's deliberately not calling you?" wondered Mansbridge.

"I don't know," Rob Ford replied. "I can't talk for Tim."

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