Renata Ford, the wife of late Toronto mayor Rob Ford, is vying for a seat in the upcoming federal election for Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada.

Ford will run in Toronto’s Etobicoke North riding, which has been held by Liberal cabinet minister Kirsty Duncan since 2008. Ford’s brother-in-law Ontario Premier Doug Ford currently represents the riding on the provincial level.

During a press conference on Friday, Ford said she was energized by Bernier’s leadership and policy plans.

“Having respect for Canadian taxpayers, boosting our economy are the two most important issues facing Canadians. For these reasons and many others, I have been drawn to the People’s Party of Canada,” she told the crowd assembled in Toronto.

Ford is one of 39 candidates in the Greater Toronto Area running with Bernier’s upstart party, which bills itself as a more conservative alternative to Andrew Scheer’s Conservative Party. She indicated that she did not inform Doug Ford, who publicly supports Scheer, about her decision before announcing her candidacy.

"We're a family and we stick together when the times are tough, but we have different opinions. He's his own man and I'm my own person. Rob and Doug are very different people and ... we stand up for what we believe in," she said.

"We discuss certain things and certain things we keep private."

Speaking through a spokesperson, Doug Ford said he wishes everyone luck in the 2019 federal election.

As the spokesperson for the party’s Metro Toronto candidates, Renata Ford took aim at the ruling Liberals who she said were “marred in scandals,” despite her own experience with scandals during her husband’s tumultuous tenure as mayor, which included a shocking confession in 2013 that he smoked crack cocaine.

“With the federal government marred in scandals and with ever-escalating budget deficits, which translates into more and more taxes, wasteful spending and a government that absolutely has no respect for the taxpayers, I felt it was time for me to step up and run for public office,” she said.

Ford also alluded to her own personal struggles following her husband’s death from cancer in 2016. In 2018, she pleaded guilty to an impaired driving charge from two years earlier. Last year, she filed a $16-million lawsuit against Rob Ford’s brothers, including Doug Ford, relating to the management of her late-husband’s estate. The matter is still before the courts.

“I have worked and served the great constituents of Etobicoke North side-by-side with my husband Rob Ford for the past 20 years in an informal behind-the-scenes capacity,” she said. “After a period of trials and tribulations, I’m healthier and I’m more ready than ever. The time is right for me now to run to be a member of parliament for Etobicoke North.”

A spokesperson for the PPC said in an emailed statement Friday that “Renata is excited to give a voice back to the people of Etobicoke North.” Bernier called the candidates gathered around him at the announcement a “great team” and said they’re in “the game.”

The PPC leader also dismissed earlier criticism that he was founding a “one-man party” by pointing to his fellow candidates.

“Look, with these men and women and people who believe in the freedom of ideas, I’m not alone and we won’t be alone,” he said. “I won’t be the only one elected the 21st of October.”

Bernier added that his party has more than 271 candidates across the country who are already approved by Elections Canada and they will have a full field of 338 candidates before the end of July.

The PPC leader founded the country’s newest national party in 2018 following a public split with the Conservatives over policy issues, such as supply management in Canada’s dairy and poultry industry.

With files from Graham Slaughter