Barrett supports Doug Ford's leadership bid

By Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer

Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett

Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett


Progressive Conservative leadership contender Doug Ford received a boost from rural Ontario last week with an endorsement from veteran Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett.

Former leader Patrick Brown was Barrett’s first choice to lead the party into the June 7 provincial election. But, after Brown abandoned his comeback attempt earlier this week, Barrett decided to throw his support behind the Ford Nation standard bearer from Etobicoke.

“Loyalty is non-negotiable with respect to my values,” Barrett said in a statement. “I have fought for Mike Harris, Ernie Eves, Jim Flaherty, John Tory, Tim Hudak, Patrick Brown.

“I have a reputation as a riding man. I am a company man but not a yes man. I have fought hard for our right to have a leadership race as some did not want this to happen. Then I fought for the right of Patrick Brown to be allowed to enter that race. Again, some did not want that to happen.

“Having fought those fights, we must all continue to fight – a fight that must be fair and democratic. After six weeks of face-to-face consultation in the riding — and in the context of my expressed admiration for all who have thrown their hat in the ring – I am backing Doug Ford to be our party leader and the next Premier of Ontario.

“Ontario needs a bold and strong leader with proven energy and experience in managing the business of government. That leader is Doug Ford.”

Ford welcomed Barrett’s support late Friday morning by way of his Twitter account @fordnation.

“Thank you Toby Barrett for endorsing me,” the tweet said. “You’re well respected and stand up for what you believe in. Great to have you on the team. Let’s take our province back together!”

Doug Ford carved out a profile for himself as a member of Toronto city council while his late brother, Rob Ford, was the city’s mayor.

Before Brown’s stunning fall from grace last month, Doug Ford was a declared candidate for the mayoralty of Toronto later this year. With the PC party’s top job vacant, Ford opted to seek the top elected position in the province.

Ford is up against former MPP and two-time leadership candidate Christine Elliott, Caroline Mulroney, daughter of former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney, and social conservative advocate Tanya Granic Allen.

The deadline for PC party members to register is Monday at 11:59 p.m. Online voting commenced at 9 a.m. Friday and will continue until the evening of Thursday, March 8.

Nearly 200,000 party members are eligible to vote. They will cast weighted ballots that rate the candidates in order of preference.

If no candidate wins more than 50 per cent support on the first ballot, the last-place finisher will be eliminated and the secondary preferences from these ballots will be factored in.

If necessary, the third-place finisher will be eliminated and these secondary preferences will also be factored in. The race goes to the first candidate to secure majority support.

Each of Ontario’s 124 ridings has been allotted 100 points. These points will be apportioned to the candidates depending on the percentage of votes they receive within each riding.

This selection process is similar to the Electoral College system in the United States.

By giving each riding equal weight, no candidate can win the party leadership by signing up an enormous number of supporters in just a few populous ridings. Instead, the selection process is designed to produce a winner who enjoys broad-based support across Ontario.

The successful candidate will be announced Saturday, March 10.