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- by Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

Doug Ford has been elected leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party. Christine Elliott conceded Sunday.
As of 6 p.m. Saturday, three hours after the results were expected, senior sources within the party with knowledge of the situation reported to CBC's Mike Crawley that Ford had won in a very close vote.

Although the 64,053 votes cast in this Ontario PC leadership contest set a record in numbers, they represent no more than 30 percent of the most modest estimate of party membership numbers. 71,402 had registered to vote (less than half of the possible membership) by the Thursday cut-off date which even a legal challenge failed to extend. Each riding was given up to 100 points to even the race across the province, so that a candidate can win with a minority of the votes cast.

So what happens next, if Ford is leader?

None of the candidates, with the exception of former leader Patrick Brown who stepped out of the race, have a seat in the Legislature.

During the leadership debate, Doug Ford insisted he would be running in Etobicoke which "my father, my brother, my nephew and I represented". He made no mention of the nomination process involved, but spoke as if the outcome of any such process was a given – and as party leader, there is not much doubt.

Christine Elliott represented the ridings of Whitby—Ajax and Whitby—Oshawa, east of Toronto from 2006 to 2015. She has been out of elected politics in August 2015, three months after she lost the previous PC leadership race to Patrick Brown. Elliott, a well-respected MPP across party lines, accepted an appointment as Ontario's Patient Ombudsman. Will she run to return to the Legislature, possibly to become a member of a Doug Ford cabinet?

Businessman Rod Phillips, who supported and campaigned with Caroline Mulroney in this race, has been nominated in Whitby-Ajax.

Caroline Mulroney is a nominated candidate in her home riding of York-Simcoe which includes the municipalities of Innisfil, Bradford West Gwillimbury, East Gwillimbury, Georgina and King, north of Toronto by Lake Simcoe. It also includes the community of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation.

Grey County resident Tanya Granic Allen committed to running in the June 7 election as part of the vetting process to run for the leadership. However, when asked in an interview earlier this week on CBC, she stated more than once that she would decide about running for a seat only after the March 10 vote. She added, "My children miss their mommy".

Her own home riding of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound is represented by Bill Walker, who was nominated months ago, and supported Christine Elliott for leader.

 

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