'Sons of Etobicoke': Rob, Doug Ford welcomed at Harper rally
Emily Chan, CTVNews.ca
Published Tuesday, October 13, 2015 12:12PM EDT
Toronto City Councillor Rob Ford and his brother, Doug Ford, joined a crowd of enthusiastic Stephen Harper supporters on Tuesday at a Conservative rally in Toronto.
The former mayor and his brother had front row seats for the Conservative Party leader's speech, but didn't directly interact with Harper in front of the cameras.
Rob Ford is here. Just arrived. Sitting front and centre for Stephen Harper's event. pic.twitter.com/EobX9FRqET— Katie Simpson (@KatieSimpsonCTV) October 13, 2015
Other attendees received the pair warmly, and in his introduction to the rally, Conservative Candidate Ted Opitz welcomed the Fords as "two great sons of Etobicoke Centre."
Speaking with reporters after Harper's speech, Doug Ford said he thinks the federal Conservative campaign has been strong so far.
"I think we're doing well out there," he said.
The former city councillor then attacked Justin Trudeau's economic policies, comparing the Liberal leader to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, and framing Harper as the safe choice for Canadians.
"(Trudeau's) going to take after Kathleen Wynne, and that's a big issue. That's a big concern for every person in Canada," Doug Ford said. "Tax, tax, tax, that's Justin Trudeau. Putting money back in your pocket, that's Prime Minister Harper."
In response, the Liberal Party was quick to criticize the Harper campaign for putting the Ford brothers in the spotlight.
On Twitter, Trudeau's principal adviser, Gerald Butts, pointed out that Conservative Candidate Jason Kenney accused Rob Ford of bringing "dishonour to public office," in November, 2013.
The Liberal Party also released a press release on Tuesday, referencing a Rob Ford interview with Bloomberg News in August, 2015, during which the former mayor told Bloomberg that, if Harper were to step down, Doug Ford would consider seeking the leadership of the Conservative Party.
In their press release, the Liberals quote the interview, and allege that "even the Fords think it's time for change."
At the rally on Tuesday, however, Doug Ford was firm in his support for Harper.
When asked why he thought Trudeau has drawn relatively large crowds at recent rallies, compared to the couple of hundred people who showed up to see Harper on Tuesday, Doug Ford said he didn't think the audience sizes reflected a problem with the Conservative campaign.
"If the prime minister wants thousands of people, we can have thousands of people. At Ford Fest we had five thousand people," he said, referring to the barbeque the Ford family hosts semi-annually. "We can easily create crowds."
With files from CTV's Katie Simpson and The Canadian Press