1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar

Diane Ford, mother of Rob and Doug Ford, dies at 85, premier’s office says

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jan 6th, 2020

Diane Ford, the mother of Ontario Premier Doug Ford and the late Toronto mayor Rob Ford, has died at the age of 85.

The premier’s office said the Ford matriarch died in her Etobicoke home on Sunday, surrounded by family.

“Mrs. Ford was an active member of her community who supported numerous charitable causes,” spokeswoman Ivana Yelich said in a written statement. “But most of all, she was the rock for her family, especially her 10 grandchildren.”

She said Ford had been diagnosed with cancer.

Yelich said the family was grateful for the outpouring of support in recent weeks, and thankful for the compassion Ford’s caregivers showed.

Diane Ford had long been in the public sphere, with her late husband Doug Sr. serving in the Ontario legislature in the 1990s, but she rose to prominence during her youngest son’s turbulent years as Toronto mayor.

She was a fierce defender of Rob Ford as he publicly battled addiction and substance abuse.

“My heart breaks for my son. It really, really does, because he’s been attacked,” she said in an exclusive 2013 interview with local TV station CP24.

She went on to say that while she didn’t condone his behaviour, she felt he had been treated unfairly.

“It’s not acceptable behaviour. He is the mayor of the city, but he knows that better than anyone now. But, you know, to err is human, but to forgive is divine and we all err, but here there is no forgiveness…Forgiveness isn’t in the eyes of the media right now,” she said.

She also told interviewers that her son didn’t have a drug problem — he had a weight problem.

Just a year later, Diane Ford was yet again in the news. This time, she and several family members donated tens of thousands of dollars to Humber River Hospital, where Rob Ford was then receiving cancer treatment.

“After 42 years of having my children here and using emergency services … doctors have been wonderful, and it’s our hospital,” Diane Ford said at the time.

Then, in 2018, Doug Ford launched his campaign for premier from his mother’s home. The same house had long been the setting of the annual Ford Fest barbecue, to which the whole public is invited.

In recent years, the event has moved to a far bigger venue.

Diane Ford’s death prompted a flood of condolences from politicians past and present, including Ontario’s Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath.

“The Ford family is in our hearts and our minds as they grieve this deep loss,” the NDP leader said in a written statement. “I hope the family finds strength in each other, and comfort in community, and may warm memories of Mrs. Ford help the Ford family through this difficult time.”

Former premier Kathleen Wynne also offered her sympathies to the premier.

“I know your mother Diane was close and important to you and will be dearly missed by you and your family,” she wrote on Twitter.

Toronto Mayor John Tory, who won the seat over Doug Ford in the 2014 municipal election, extended his condolences on behalf of the city.

“Throughout the 25 years I have known her, Mrs. Diane Ford was so obviously the matriarch of the Ford family and that is why I know they will miss her so much,” he said.

Comments

  • No comments have been left yet, get the conversation started!

Leave a Comment Below

Sign in to comment.

All fields are required.

Want to embed media into your comment? Just paste in a URL in a separate paragraph to the page where you would normally view the media (like on YouTube) and it will automatically be embedded into your comment.