The Canadian parliamentary elections take place next Tuesday, and Liberal Party candidate Justin Trudeau is leading by a thin margin against incumbent prime minister Stephen Harper, a conservative who tried to give his campaign some last-minute oomph today by making room for a very special guest: Rob Ford, America’s favorite Canadian politician.
During a Harper rally in the Toronto municipality of Etobicoke on Tuesday, journalists quickly noticed the familiar, albeit leaner, silhouette of the former crack-smoking mayor and a current councilman. Ford was joined by his brother Doug Ford, a former Toronto councilman. The two Fords are extremely popular with conservative members of the party, especially in Etobicoke, disturbingly referred to as “ground zero for Ford Nation” by one adviser to the Harper campaign.
Ford wasn’t an official guest of the Harper campaign — in fact, he sat quietly in the front row according to one account. However, Harper’s campaign didn’t disown his presence and tacit endorsement. The prime minister didn’t shake hands with either of the Fords in public, because campaign scripture dictates that one must not meet with Rob Ford a week before a close election. Harper did meet with them privately after the event, according to the Globe and Mail.
Ford dropped out of his 2014 reelection bid for Toronto Mayor because of a cancer diagnosis last fall. He had a surgery in May that successfully extracted a cancerous tumor from his abdomen. In the name of science, Ford donated his blighted organ to researchers, who will presumably do something constructive with it — other than placing it in a jar of formalin and showing it off to their colleagues.