By Michael Ranger and Anastasia Coulson-Gagnon for Skedline.com
It was a big night for Ford Nation as Ontario Premier Doug Ford was on hand to congratulate his nephew Michael on his victory in Etobicoke-North.
When speaking to his raucous supporters in a packed ballroom at the airport Holiday Inn the younger Ford was quick to thank his uncle Doug as well as his late uncle Rob, the former Toronto mayor.
“I feel great,” said Michael Ford. “This is a great night for the residents of North Etobicoke and I really look forward to continuing on all the work we have done.”
Regarding his nephew’s win the Premier said “I think it’s fantastic. We’re very grateful for the people of Etobicoke North and we’ll always be there to serve them.”
(Skedline reporters Anastasia Coulson-Gagnon and Michael Ranger capture the moment Doug Ford arrives at Michael Ford’s victory party.)
Michael Ford faced off against political veteran and Ford ally Vincent Crisanti in what was a hard-fought battle between two incumbents. In the end Crisanti was 2,000 votes short as Ford took 42 percent of the votes to officially become city councillor for the new Ward 1.
“I’d like to thank Councillor Crisanti for his commitment and public service to the residents of Etobicoke North,” said Michael. Premier Ford echoed these sentiments. “Vince is a great guy, always a friend and always will be.”
The new Ward 1 combines the two former Wards 1 and 2. Crisanti had been councillor for the old Ward 1 since 2010 and has been in municipal politics for over 20 years. Ford, a 24-year-old two-year political rookie, became councillor of the old Ward 2 in 2016. Both incumbents supported the provincial government’s downsizing of city council. In the end it cost one of them their job, with Crisanti coming up short.
(Skedline reporter Anastasia Coulson-Gagnon speaks with Michael Ford following his victory in ward 1.)
Ford represents the next generation of Fords in Toronto politics. He became councillor in a 2016 by-election to fill the seat left open when his uncle Rob died.
Ford told the Toronto Star “I have been to people’s doors. There is absolutely no difference or veering away from how Rob did his work. I learned a lot from Rob’s work and I’ve been a very active councillor.”
Crisanti campaigned on the back of the slogan “experience matters.” When speaking with the Toronto Star he said, “not every Ford is the same, quite frankly, and this Ford doesn’t have the background, the experience, the life skills” to lead.
Crisanti and Ford have historically voted the same way on major issues. Both candidates have cited gun violence as a major problem in the ward and each of them made campaign pledges to make the community a safer place. Both candidates also made promises to keep taxes as low as possible.