“We have a lot to do in a very short amount of time,” Mr. Ford said before declining to answer questions from reporters. “I will get our party back on track. We will put a platform forward that will speak to every Ontarian.”
The Conservatives in Canada’s most populous province needed a new leader because Patrick Brown quit after a Canadian television network reported on sexual misconduct accusations against him. Mr. Brown recently filed a defamation lawsuit against the broadcaster, CTV, which has said it will vigorously defend its reporting.
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Like many of the events that have followed Mr. Brown’s departure — including his brief entry into the race to fill his spot — little went smoothly for the Conservatives on Saturday. Party members voted mainly online to rank their preferred candidates, and the leader was picked through a complex points system that allocated the ballot results among electoral districts.
A protest by his opponent, Christine Elliott, the party’s former deputy leader, about the accuracy of the point allocations turned what was planned as a late afternoon announcement into a late evening affair. In the end, Mr. Ford appeared to have defeated Ms. Elliott by only a small margin.
Ms. Elliott and Caroline Mulroney, another candidate and the daughter of the former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, did not join Mr. Ford on the stage during his victory speech.
Before Mr. Brown quit as party leader, the Conservatives had appeared poised to seize power in Ontario’s provincial assembly from the Liberals in a vote scheduled for June 7.
It is unclear, however, if Mr. Ford’s populist message — which includes opposing federally mandated carbon taxes — will carry the party. That will not be his only hurdle. Being so closely associated with Toronto is not a plus in other parts of the province, where the country’s largest city often prompts envy and resentment.