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article imageOp-Ed: Doug Ford's Ontario campaign looking a lot like Trump's 2016 run

By Karen Graham     May 4, 2018 in Politics
Ontario PC Leader Doug Ford is serious about his bid to unseat the province's Premier, Kathleen Wynne on June 7 — so much so that his every move is now covered with his very own camera crew and reporter.
Doug Ford Jr. is a Canadian businessman and politician serving as the 26th and current Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. He, like his younger brother, Rob and his father, Doug Ford, Sr. can lay claim to being a political dynasty, although Doug and his brother seemed to like the term "Ford Nation" better.
A Trump by another name?
As a U.S. resident, this writer has been caught up in the political antics of the Trump administration and its war against the national media over "fake news." However, it seems that to some Canadians, the front-runner for the premier's job in Ontario, Doug Ford, is using some Trump tactics to grow his political base.
Canada's Post Millennial reported a few days ago that in a press conference, Premier Kathleen Wynne compared Ford to Trump by suggesting that Ford is a bully who will say anything because all he cares about is himself. Yep, she did say, "Just like Trump."
Even the Toronto Star’s Martin Cohn got in on the Ford-Trump comparison game, writing a piece on April 4, highlighting the “top 10 interchangeable traits between Ford and Trump.”
Ontario election 2018: Pressing hands in Ottawa.
Ontario election 2018: Pressing hands in Ottawa.
Doug Ford
And yes, there are some comparisons that jive, like both men coming from wealthy families, and their claims they are standing up for the "little guys" — but Cohn went further, suggesting Ford was a racist, sexist buffoon, simply because he had said he would have voted for Trump.
Ford's new strategy takes on the established media
To counter what Ford is calling "media bias" and to get his message across to the voters without it being filtered by reporters, Ford has taken matters into his own hands, using a recognizable journalistic format, says Josh Greenberg, director of the Carleton University journalism school, reports CBC Canada.
The Ford strategy includes having his very own reporter, Lyndsey Vanstone, an enthusiastic and always present campaigner, with her microphone ready to record Ford's every word. she is his executive assistant and former press secretary, so all the right people get instant access to the candidate.
As Ford campaigns across the province, his every move and words are recorded for a series of partisan, TV-news style videos for Vanstone's "Ford Nation Live" newscasts that are published to the Ontario PC Party's Facebook page. The videos have racked up thousands of views.
Vanstone, microphone in hand, enthusiastically shares the campaign's messages, praising Ford's plan to cut electrical rates as an "honest and responsible hydro plan." She refers to Ford as the "soon-to-be premier" who is promising "brighter days ahead."
Ford's communications director, Melissa Lantsman, defends the strategy, saying the party will use "every opportunity to connect with voters, including online videos, to highlight the plan Doug Ford has for the people of Ontario."
Ford has had run-ins with the media before
The National Post suggests Ford's animosity toward the media may date from his 2010-to-2014 stint as a Toronto city councilor.
Ward 2 Councillor Doug Ford photographed outside Toronto Mayor Rob Ford s office in a media scrum.
Ward 2 Councillor Doug Ford photographed outside Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's office in a media scrum.
In all fairness to Doug Ford, he spent most of those four years defending his brother Rob Ford against allegations of alcohol abuse and using crack cocaine while in office, accusations which later did prove to be true. In 2012, after getting into a heated media debate, Ford called the assembled journalists a “Bunch of pricks."
The day before that incident, Ford told a live radio audience that journalists “sensationalize and lie through their teeth.” And things actually did not improve that much between Ford and the media. In 2014, while running for Mayor, Ford allegedly commented on a Toronto Star reporter, saying, "I can't stand that little b---h."
Ford insisted later that he was talking about someone else. However, like Trump, Ford is quick with the allegedly vulgar insults against women, according to The Star; and like Trump, he is against global warming, promising to dismantle the province’s cap and trade program; and he is against his party's former plan to replace it with a carbon tax.
Bottom line? Canadian politics is not so different from the three-ring-circus the American public is subject to dealing with every day.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Doug Ford, Ontario election, Donald trump, Media bias, Canada
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