The leftist pundits, (CBC, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail) have never understood Ford Nation and have always under-estimated its staying power and influence.
But its members come from all age groups and from all socio-economic groups and strata of society. Ford Nation draws from all the major racial, ethnic and religious communities of Toronto. It is a true multicultural group. Regular polling and the populations at Ford Fests, confirm Ford Nation’s breadth, depth and diversity.
Even many downtown Bay Street types- the so-called elitists, ie lawyers, doctors, accountants, bankers and brokers also proudly call themselves Ford Nation supporters.
Through all of Mayor Rob Ford’s personal troubles, Ford Nation stood by Rob Ford and kept him in the race.
When Rob Ford had to withdraw due to illness, the pundits thought Ford Nation was finished. But this amazing diverse band of men and women stuck together and transferred their loyalty and support to Rob Ford’s brother, city councilor Doug Ford.
Doug Ford has forcefully and effectively taken on both Chow and Tory and hammered them on their deficiencies, while at the same time, articulating forcefully the message of respect for the taxpayers, keeping taxes low, ensuring services are more efficient and promoting subways, subways, subways.
In addition, Doug Ford’s opponents, can no longer base their campaigns, on merely attacking the character of Doug Ford, who does not carry the same baggage as his brother.
This election has shown that Ford Nation is still a force municipally and can be an effective force federally if properly motivated and treated by Conservative Prime Minister Harper and his federal organizers. And if Harper effectively taps into the spirit and support of Ford Nation.
Because the spirit of Ford Nation is not limited to the Greater Toronto Area, but extends throughout Ontario-in all the big cities, suburbs and small towns of Ontario. And beyond Ontario as well.
Former Conservative Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty ( now deceased) knew that. And as a result, he was a steadfast supporter of Rob Ford and Ford Nation.
Rob Ford will be elected councilor and I hope he beats his cancer. Doug Ford, though trailing Tory, still can pull out a victory as mayor. But whether Doug wins or loses, Ford Nation will survive and will be a major factor in the next federal election.
In order for PM Harper to win Ontario and Canada, and beat the popular, but dangerous, Justin Trudeau, federal leader of the Liberal Party, Harper needs the support of Ford Nation.
I hope Harper and his people are listening.