The wife of late Toronto mayor Rob Ford will be running to become a MP in the upcoming fall federal election.
Renata Ford, who is sister-in-law to Ontario premier Doug Ford and aunt to Toronto city councillor Michael Ford, was introduced as a candidate for the People’s Party of Canada in the riding of Etobicoke North on Friday.
The official announcement was made by leader Maxime Bernier, who unveiled 40 candidates running for the party in the GTA.
Ford will be trying to unseat incumbent Kirsty Duncan, the federal science and sport minister, whose Liberals have held the federal riding for all but four years since 1980.
It’s official. Renata Ford announced as candidate for Etobicoke North. She is also the People’s Party spokesperson for Metro Toronto candidates. She is speaking now. #cdnpoli
— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) June 21, 2019
WATCH: Renata Ford explains why she wants to run for the People’s Party of Canada
Renata is best known for standing by her late husband through his many controversies as Toronto’s mayor, including his admission that he had smoked crack cocaine.
The Ford family has had long links to the federal Conservative Party. Rob and his brother, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, both campaigned for former prime minister Stephen Harper. Ford is a Progressive Conservative and has been backing the federal Conservatives under Andrew Scheer.
When asked for a comment on Renata’s decision to run as MP, Premier Ford’s press secretary issued the following statement: “The premier wishes every candidate good luck in the upcoming federal election.”
She indicated she hadn’t told Doug Ford, whom she is suing over family finances, of her decision to run.
“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.”
Watch: Renata Ford asked about her relationship with brother-in-law Premier Doug Ford
Councillor Michael Ford said he would not be supporting any one individual’s candidacy in Etobicoke North but he looked forward to working with whoever is elected in October.
“I welcome the candidacy of all individuals from all backgrounds and all political stripes and wish them the best in the upcoming federal election,” Ford said in a statement.
The Ford brothers publicly supported Stephen Harper during the 2015 campaign, appearing on stage with the then Conservative leader in the waning days of the campaign, and Doug Ford has publicly backed Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer this time around.
Renata Ford said she believes Bernier’s party is “the only legitimate alternative” for voters.
John Wright with Dart Insight said it is very unlikely that Renata will win the Etobicoke riding.
“Maxime Bernier right now is polling about one per cent of the entire country in terms of support,” Wright said.
“He’s going to try and latch on to somebody who’s got some local support that may be able to generate some votes. But at the end of the day, people are going to be at the marquee and have to choose between the top three leaders who are out there … I don’t think he’s going to win that seat. She may be popular in certain parts of Etobicoke, but frankly, there is a bigger gain here, it’s not just local.”