TORONTO — Doug Ford says he's done more for Ontario's black community than any other politician, save his late brother, Toronto's scandal-plagued former mayor Rob Ford.
The Progressive Conservative leader made the comments Thursday when asked why he wouldn't be participating in a debate next week organized by black community leaders ahead of the spring election.
"I have massive support in the black community. I love them, they love me," Doug Ford told reporters. "There's no other politician in this country, no other politician outside of Rob Ford, that has supported the black community more than I have."
Rob Ford drew criticism for racist remarks
All other party leaders have confirmed their participation in the Black Community Provincial Leaders Debate scheduled for April 11.
But Ford, a former Toronto city councillor, says he will be travelling in northern Ontario at that time and simply cannot attend.
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He says, however, that he will face off with the other party leaders in televised debates before the June 7 election.
His brother Rob Ford drew criticism on several occasions for his behaviour towards racialized people. He once apologized to city council after being chastised by the city's integrity commissioner for making racist remarks during his time as mayor.
Rob Ford was also captured on video speaking in expletive-laced Jamaican patois, a move deemed offensive by the city's lone black councillor at the time.