Tories set sights on Willowdale riding
But Liberal Zimmer vows to defend his seat
(Written for Town Crier March 3)
Liberal MPP David Zimmer knows the Progressive Conservatives have set their sights on Willowdale, but he’s ready to fight to keep his seat in the upcoming provincial election.
He first came to power in 2003 beating then PC incumbent David Young.
“All the pundits, polls, newspapers and blogs in 2003 (stated) the conventional wisdom was Conservatives would lose all seats in 416 except Willowdale,” recalls Zimmer.
The commentators were mostly correct as the PCs lost all their Toronto seats including Willowdale.
“David Young was a good candidate, a lawyer. I know him and we had a good campaign,” said Zimmer, also a lawyer by trade. “I won by 2,000 votes.”
Fast forward to the 2007 provincial race and then PC leader John Tory looked closely at running in Willowdale against Zimmer but settled on Don Valley West where he eventually lost to Kathleen Wynne. The PCs ran Willowdale Councillor David Shiner as a star candidate, but Zimmer held on, beating Shiner by almost 6,000 votes.
“This year the Tories are anxious to try and get Willowdale,” Zimmer said.The Progressive Conservatives are running Vince Agovino.
“Vince Agovino is not a high profile candidate. It’s not a criticism of him or his abilities. They tried to get a high profile candidate, but there were no takers,” he said. “I’ve seen this fight before. I will work hard as I did in ’03 and ’07. We are looking forward to a vigorous campaign.”
At the legislature, Zimmer is working as the parliamentary assistant to the Attorney General on speeding up the justice system.
Accused are appearing before the courts eight to 10 times before a court resolution is found whereas it used to be two or three appearance, he said.
“The Justice on Target is a program is trying to speed up the justice system so it’s less costly. But also for the accused person, if they are in jail they want the case to go to trial sooner so they can get on with their life,” said Zimmer. “For victims they want the case to be over with. It’s stressful to wait around for a couple of years.”
Locally, Zimmer is diplomatic on the plans Mayor Rob Ford’s plan for a Sheppard subway over the previously approved LRT line.
“We settled on Metrolinx rapid transit and he (Ford) said he won’t go ahead with it,” said Zimmer. “Now we have to figure out how to work out a solution for everyone.”
The Town Crier will be interviewing all major party candidates in Willowdale as the provincial election campaign progresses towards the Oct. 6 vote.