TORONTO – The widow of Toronto’s former Mayor Rob Ford — an anti-tax populist who gained notoriety for smoking crack cocaine while in office — has declared she will run in upcoming federal elections.
Renata Ford will stand as a candidate in October for the fringe People’s Party of Canada — a recent upstart formed by former Conservative Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier after he lost a bid to lead the Tories.
Ford was among several candidates revealed by the People’s Party on Friday, according to local media, and will seek to represent the Toronto electoral district of Etobicoke-North.
“I have worked and served the constituents of Etobicoke-North side-by-side with my husband, Rob Ford, for the past 20 years in an informal behind-the-scenes capacity,” she said in a campaign-style speech posted online.
“After a period of trials and tribulations, I am healthier and I am more ready than ever. The time is right for me now to run to be a member of Parliament.”
Rob Ford died in 2016 at age 46 after a fight with cancer. He had put Canada’s usually staid politics on the global map when an alleged drug dealer tried to sell a video of the mayor apparently smoking crack.
At first, Ford denied using the drug, but he later acknowledged having smoked crack cocaine in a “drunken stupor,” insisting he was not an addict.
Soon thereafter he entered rehab but his behavior became increasingly erratic.
Days before last year’s Ontario election that saw Rob’s brother Doug elected premier of Canada’s most populous province, Renata alleged that Doug had been negligent in managing the family’s printing business, costing her and her children support money.
She is seeking Can$16 million in a lawsuit. When the suit was revealed, her mother-in-law reportedly urged Renata to seek help for a substance abuse problem of her own.