Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is set to kick off his re-election campaign at an event his brother and campaign aide has called “history in the making”.
Rob Ford is expected to deliver a 20-minute speech at the Toronto Congress Centre, where he celebrated his mayoral win in 2010.
He has been stripped of many of his powers after admitting to using and purchasing drugs while mayor.
Rob Ford faces two major challengers in the 27 October election.
His brother and campaign manager City Councilor, Doug Ford, said he expected “thousands” to turn out after the campaign sent automated phone invitations to many Toronto residents.
Rob Ford was first elected in 2010 to lead Canada’s largest city on a pledge to tackle wasteful spending at city hall. He draws much of his support from the suburban areas of Toronto.
He soon privatized rubbish collection across much of the city and did away with a vehicle tax, but quickly became bogged down in disputes with the council.
And over the past year, Rob Ford has admitted smoking crack cocaine “in a drunken stupor” and to purchasing illegal drugs while mayor.
Allegations have also surfaced in police documents that Rob Ford used racially abusive language, threatened staff, harassing a female colleague, and snorted cocaine in a restaurant.
He denies the allegations.
In the fallout from the drugs scandal, the city council stripped Rob Ford of most of his mayoral powers and his budget, rendering him effectively mayor in name only, analysts say.
However, Rob Ford has brushed aside pressure to quit, saying voters will decide whether to keep him in office in the October election. He has said his “track record speaks for itself”, and recent polls show him running in contention with his chief challengers.
On Thursday, Doug Ford told reporters his brother’s campaign kick-off would include “some humility, a lot of accomplishments” but no new campaign policy announcements.
The Toronto mayor faces serious challenges from centre-right candidate John Tory, a broadcaster and former member of the provincial parliament, and former New Democratic Party (NDP) MP Olivia Chow.
John Tory has released a “Code of Conduct” in which he vows to “respect and defend our laws, not break them”, and to “show up for work each day”, in a clear rebuke to Rob Ford’s recent behavior.
Karen Stintz, a city councilor, and David Soknacki, a former councilor, are also running.
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