Doug Ford began his first full day as chief of the Ontario Progressive Conservative party Sunday, having narrowly triumphed in a chaotic leadership race Saturday.
For political analyst Matt Farrell, he believes Ford’s election marks a significant turn around for traditional conservatives.
“With Patrick Brown, the party was very much a centrist party. With Doug Ford’s nomination, I think the natural reaction now is for the older, true conservative voters to swing back the other way,” said Farrell.
Fellow candidate Christine Elliott may have won the popular vote, but Farrell says that didn’t matter.
“With the formula set up the way it was by caucus, you saw in the places where Ford won, he won big. Where he lost, the margins were very small,” he said.
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) March 11, 2018
Many concerns have been raised over the Ford’s family history. An article published by the Globe and Mail claims Doug Ford sold hashish for several years in the 1980s.
“But I think in today’s political climate, that won’t matter. A more clean cut politician would be absolutely devastated by a scandal, but for a politician like Ford, who has always been very grey, it will be tough to use that to stop his momentum,” said Farrell.
So how does Ford fair in winning the election?
“I think moving slightly to the centre would put the Progressive Conservatives into a favourable position,” Farrell said.
“With Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals, you’ve seen a departure from the centre to the further left to capture some of those NDP votes,” he said.
“Many voters in Ontario would love to vote for a socially progressive yet fiscally conservative party. You may not get fully progressive with Ford, but if angled correctly, it could prove to be enough.”