Doug Ford’s detractors would be foolish to count him out of the race for Ontario

Ford has the brand recognition and populist appeal that his opponents are lacking

In an era defined by President Donald Trump, and Brexit, and Europeans suddenly embracing once-fringe right-wing parties, it’s fairly obvious that there is an appetite for change — a shift from big-government establishment status quo — among voters across the West.

Even in Liberal-red Ontario, which has been controlled by the McGuinty/Wynne government for the last decade-and-a-half, there are clear signs of fatigue. That doesn’t mean the province is ready to elect its own version of the National Front, of course, but there are signs it’s hungry for something new.