Conservative Leader Stephen Harper avoided mentioning Rob Ford by name when asked about his association with the infamous former Toronto mayor during a campaign stop on Thursday.

Rob Ford and his brother, former Toronto city councillor Doug Ford, have been publicizing an upcoming Conservative Party rally that Harper is attending in Toronto on Saturday.

"The rally that you have talked about is a rally of the Conservative Party of Canada," Harper said during a campaign stop in Trois-Rivieres Que. "We are bringing together all Canadians who want to fight for an agenda of low taxes and balanced budgets to keep our party, and our country, moving forward."

Harper did not utter the Ford family name on Thursday, as he has done on other recent occasions when asked about them. Apparently choosing his words carefully, he has only referred to the brothers as "those individuals" or "that family."



The Ford brothers attended a Conservative campaign event in Toronto on Tuesday, prompting criticism from Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.

"Harper should be embarrassed that he's having to count on the support of Rob Ford for his re-election," Trudeau said during a campaign stop in Montreal on Thursday.

In light of the Conservative government's tough-on-crime agenda, Trudeau pointed to the "hypocrisy" of Harper affiliating himself with Ford, the former Toronto mayor who admitted to smoking crack cocaine during his term in office.

"The Ford brothers should have no place on a national campaign stage, much less hosting a prime minister at an event this weekend."

Doug Ford calls Trudeau's comments "hypocritical"

In an interview on CTV News Channel, Doug Ford turned the tables on Trudeau, calling his criticism hypocritical, based on the Liberal leader's prior admission that he smoked pot as an MP.

"I know one thing, it wasn't Stephen Harper sitting around a table smoking a joint at a dinner party like Justin Trudeau was," Doug Ford said. "I find it hypocritical."

Doug Ford also questioned Trudeau's past work experience.

"He was a drama teacher for a year, and he's going to be the prime minister? You have to be kidding me," he said.

"You put his resume up against the prime minister's and you go to any company in the world. Justin Trudeau couldn't be the floor sweeper, not to mention the prime minister."