The Progressive Conservative Premier of Ontario Doug Ford cautions Torontonians to not vote for mayoral candidate Olivia Chow, warning them of inevitable tax increases and urban decay if she wins Toronto’s June 26th byelection. 

In a Burlington, Ontario press conference, Ford was asked by reporters about former Toronto mayor John Tory’s endorsement of Ana Bailão for the mayoralty.

Not responding to the question directly, he urged Torontonians to have their voices heard by voting, but warned that the race’s left-wing frontrunner will pose challenges to business and affordibility in the city.

“I’ll tell you if you want my opinion, if Olivia Chow gets in it’ll be an unmitigated disaster,” said Premier Ford.

Ford told reporters that Chow would raise taxes on Toronto’s residents like never before seen, up to 30%, the Premier estimates. 

“She makes David Miller look like a fiscal conservative,” said Ford, taking a jab at both Chow and the former mayor’s record. 

“God forbid Olivia Chow gets elected, your taxes are going up at an unprecedented rate. Companies will leave, and I’ll tell you, I hear even the staff at City Hall is worried.”

Chow has been a Toronto-area politician for decades, serving as a school board trustee from 1985-1991, a Toronto city councillor from 1991-2005, and an NDP MP for Trinity-Spadina. 

Doug Ford’s late brother Rob Ford served in Toronto City Hall with Chow from 2000-2005.

Chow’s platform has been criticized for being scant on details and having large spending promises that will require double-digit property tax increases. 

Despite this, Chow has maintained a considerate lead ahead of the rest of the candidates, consistently polling in the low 30’s. 

A recent Forum Research poll pegs Chow at 32% support among decided voters, 17% higher than the next best candidate who is polling at 15%. 

Premier Ford recently announced that he has a Mark Saunders election sign on his lawn, and will be voting for the former Toronto police chief on June 26th. 

Saunders has positioned himself as the anti-Chow candidate in recent weeks, but this shift in campaign strategy has not accompanied a bump in the polls. 

Forum Research estimates that Saunders has around 1% more support than he did at the beginning of the campaign, up from 14% to 15%.