Former Toronto city councillor Doug Ford has been elected the new leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives in a close and contentious ranked-ballot election.
The one-term councillor and brother of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, beat out three other candidates: former MPP and deputy party leader Christine Elliott, lawyer and businesswoman Caroline Mulroney and parental rights activist Tanya Granic Allen. With 6,202 electoral points, Ford won the race over Elliott by 153 points.
“I will not take this responsibility lightly,” Ford said in his victory speech Saturday.
“To the people of Ontario I say, relief is on its way. To Kathleen Wynne I say, your days as premier are numbered.”
The official announcement of the results had been delayed for hours as over 1,000 votes were in dispute. A review was held to confirm from which riding a number of ballots originated and while a discrepancy was found, it was deemed insignificant to the race results and Ford was still determined to be the winner.
Saturday’s election comes after repeated extensions of the voter registration deadline and an extension of the deadline to cast ballots. The extensions had been granted due to problems with the party’s new voter registration system, including registration cards being sent late and concerns of fraudulent sign-ups.
Ford had previously said that the leadership vote had been “corrupted” and that the party leadership was siding with Elliott by refusing to extend the voting deadline a second time – a move that he said would deny “thousands” of PCs members the right to vote.
“What would you call an election where only one out of three members can vote? I call it a scandal,” he said on Facebook. “All the candidates are united, except one: Christine Elliott. It’s unbelievable. But the party sided with her … This is just another in a long line of scandals coming out of party HQ. What games are being played here?”
As of 8 a.m. Friday, 71,402 party members had been verified and the party confirmed that 64,053 members had voted when voting closed at noon Friday.