Will be a challenge for Grit challenger to oust NDPer Layton
Liberal candidate Andrew Lang makes 2nd attempt win seat
(Written for Town Crier April 8.)
Jack Layton at any NDP rally in March at Toronto's Wychwood Barns. Tristan Carter/Town Crier file photo.
The Green Party’s Elizabeth May notwithstanding, it’s safe to say that federal party leaders easily win their seats in the House of Commons seat whether or not they’re present in their riding during an election campaign.
If that’s a given, then the Toronto-Danforth race is Jack Layton’s to lose. Not only is he party leader of the New Democrats, he’s an incumbent who’s represented the riding in some form or another since 1994. Still, Layton has challengers from all the major parties, including Liberal Andrew Lang, who ran unsuccessfully against Layton in 2008.
“The longer you are an incumbent the more people become comfortable with you,” says Nelson Wiseman, a politics professor at the University of Toronto. “The longer you are a party leader, the more it contributes to your credibility.”
Layton became party leader in 2003 and in 2004 he beat incumbent Toronto-Danforth Liberal MP Dennis Mills. Layton was re-elected in 2006 and 2008.
As expected, Layton has been criss-crossing the country since the election writ dropped on March 26.
“I am grateful for the understanding of my local constituents that I can’t campaign as often in Toronto-Danforth, but I make up for it between elections by being in my riding frequently for events,” Layton said from British Columbia on April 7.
Layton served on Toronto City Council and Metro Council from 1982 to 2003 before entering federal politics. Continue reading
Posted in Toronto Politics
Tagged Andrew Lang, candidate, Danforth, election, federal, Jack Layton, Kris Scheuer, Liberal, MP, NDP, Nelson Wiseman, professor, Toronto, Town Crier, Win
She is Liberal’s Trinity-Spadina provincial candidate
After last year’s mayoral run, she’s aiming for MPP
(Written Mar 10 for Town Crier/Toronto Today)
Sarah Thomson is seeking a seat in the provincial legislature on the Liberal ticket. Giordano Ciampini/Town Crier file photo.
Sarah Thomson has accepted an invitation from the provincial Liberals to be their candidate in Trinity-Spadina this fall.
She made the announcement March 9 in a Facebook post.
“I’ve said I want to run in a nomination,” she said hours later, in confirming the report for Toronto Today.
Herman Ng, Trinity-Spadina riding association president, confirmed Thomson will be the only Liberal candidate at a nomination meeting held March 27.
“I investigated both the Ontario Liberal Party and the Ontario PC Party to find which party today best represents my core values,” Thomson stated in her Facebook announcement.
Thomson, a midtown Toronto resident who once lived in the Annex, is a business woman who ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Toronto in last year’s municipal race, dropping out before election day and throwing her support behind second-place finisher George Smitherman.
“There are politicians who critique others but never actually initiate anything — they run because they want a job or news headlines,” wrote the Women’s Post publisher on her Facebook page. “And there are politicians who stick their neck out and do what they believe is right — they run because they want to contribute to building a better world.”
If nominated Thomson will be taking on incumbent Rosario Marchese, who has represented the riding since 1990.
“We don’t have someone who is a doer,” Thomson told Toronto Today. “(The riding) is getting poor representation in the legislature.
“He has been there for 21 years. What has he done?”
Marchese, who was part of the Bob Rae government and has been in opposition to both the PCs and Liberals, defended his record.
“I’ve been a strong advocate for education,” he said.
He said the Liberals have decreased funding for special education and parents have fundraised $600 million to supplement school needs, creating a two-tier education system for poor and richer communities.
He’s also put forward three private member’s bills to make amendments to the condo act that the Liberals have rebuffed.
If Thomson is serious about reforms, Marchese said, she’ll have to defend the Liberals’ non-action on issues of housing, education and healthcare.
“I’m hard pressed to see what Sarah thinks she will accomplish as a backbencher or minister, assuming this government gets re-elected,” he said. “What would she be proposing?”
Marchese won with 41.1 percent of the vote to then-Liberal candidate Kate Holloway’s 31.5 percent in 2007. In 2003, he got 47.5 percent to Liberal Nellie Pedro’s 31.8 percent.
Tories set sights on Willowdale riding
But Liberal Zimmer vows to defend his seat
(Written for Town Crier March 3)
Liberal MPP David Zimmer seeks a third term in Willowdale. Photo courtesy of David Zimmer.
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. Continue reading
Posted in Toronto Politics
Tagged Agovino, candidate, David, election, Kris Scheuer, Liberal, MPP, PC, provincial, re-election, Tories, Town Crier, Vince, Willowdale, Zimmer
PC party asked Pitfield to run in Ontario election
But she declined offers, focused on other projects
(Written for Town Crier Feb. 22)
Former Don Valley West Councillor Jane Pitfield has declined offers to be a PC candidate in the provincial election. Francis Crescia/Town Crier file photo.
Former Leaside councillor Jane Pitfield is busy with a lot of projects these days, but running a campaign for a seat in the Ontario legislature isn’t one of them.
Pitfield said she was approached to run provincially for this fall’s
election, but declined.
“Three different ridings all looking for Conservative candidates asked me
to think about it,” she said in February. “I said I wasn’t interested.
“The level of government that appeals to me the most is municipal.”
Pitfield ran in a competitive race in Toronto-Danforth Ward 29 during last
fall’s municipal election. She came second to councillor Mary Fragedakis.
Though surely disappointed that she wasn’t able to get back to city hall as
a municipal representative, Pitfield began tackling other projects.
This January, Exchange Solutions contracted her services to help them launch
a new program Give Get that allows shoppers to donate to various charities
just by buying products at participating retails.
It’s free to join Give Get and there will be a list of charities online that
customers can choose to support when they purchase products at participating
businesses. The website is going live this month.
A website associated with a Leaside fundraiser connected to the Give Get program is already online.
Beyond charitable work, Pitfield is also the new owner of Gaultois Inn in
the Coast of Bays region of Newfoundland. She said it is scheduled to open
in May. Continue reading
Posted in Toronto Politics
Tagged candidate, councillor, election, get, give, Jane Pitfield, Kris Scheuer, Leaside, Ontario, provincial, run, Toronto, Town Crier
Former mayoral candidate could seek a nomination
May run for PC or Liberal party in 2011 Ont election
(Written for Town Crier Jan 25)
Sarah Thomson at the Town Crier offices last year. Town Crier file photo.
Less than six months after she bowed out of Toronto’s mayoral race, rumour has it Sarah Thomson will be taking yet another stab at politics.
There’s been speculation the Rosedale resident will run in a Toronto riding for the Oct. 6 provincial election.
One political insider told the Town Crier Thomson has been in discussions with both the Liberal and Progressive Conservative parties, but any firm decisions have yet to be made.
While Thomson has not ruled anything out, she is mum on a possible jump into provincial politics this election year.
And, in January, she firmly denied reports that she’ll be running for MPP in Parkdale-High Park.
“That was a candidate who had put that out as a rumour,” Thomson said Jan. 24.
“I haven’t talked to anyone about Parkdale-High Park.”
Mayoral candidate unveils plan to balance 2011 budget
Modest tax increase, no staff firings, no service cuts
(Written for Town Crier Oct. 14)
Toronto mayoral candidate Joe Pantalone releases his economic plan. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.
Joe Pantalone made two big announcements this morning:
First, Pantalone said he won’t drop out of the race for the city’s top job. And second, he said he can deliver a balanced budget in 2011.
“This budget has a number of components in it,” he said. “First of all it has no service cuts. It does not call for any additional money from the provincial government for 2011 because we understand the province and feds have financial issues as well.
“It is a city building-budget which is fiscally responsible,” he claimed.
Pantalone said the city’s facing a $503 million gap to balance next year’s budget. That pressure grows to $541 due to $22 million in campaign promises plus the $16 million revenue loss of phasing out the vehicle registration tax in 2011 through 2014 plus a four-year tax freeze for seniors earning less than $50,000 living in their own home.
Council candidate takes on current rep Joe Mihevc
(Written for Town Crier Sept. 16)
Candidate Beth McLellan decided rather than complain to challenge incumbent Councillor Joe Mihevc. Photo courtesy of Beth McLellan.
St. Paul’s resident Beth McLellan felt compelled to run for council despite warnings the odds are stacked against her.
“I threw my hat in the ring September 3,” said the Ward 21 candidate. “So many people are complaining in our ward saying they were unhappy and (yet) they said absolutely no one could beat Joe Mihevc.”
While aware that beating any incumbent is no easy task, McClellan said she’s ready for the challenge.
“I have been handing out flyers,” she said. “I am going to businesses and homes and talking to people.”
McLellan said she’s not happy with the way city hall spends money, including allowing city employees to ring up millions in credit card charges with little accountability. She noted the price tag for the St. Clair Right-of Way grew exponentially during construction. Continue reading
Will York Centre council candidate win this time?
Toutchinksi’s been a runner up in previous elctions
(Written for Town Crier Sept. 2)
Igor Toutchinski is running in a crowded field of Ward 10 council candidates.
A two-time Ward 10 council candidate who was runner-up in the 2006 municipal election race hoping he’ll emerge victorious this time around.
In 2006, in a field of seven candidates, Igor Toutchinski came second to Councillor Mike Feldman, who recently announced he won’t seek re-election.
But even with no incumbent, it’ll be a tough race. As of press time, Toutchinski was up against nine other candidates.
“This race will be very tight,” Toutchinski said. “The winner will win with a small amount of votes.”
He said his advantage is his profile in the Russian community, which is large in North York. According to Toutchinski, about a quarter of all eligible voters in Ward 10 are of Russian background. Continue reading
Former city planner runs for council
Friedman is running in York Centre in wide open race
(Written Sept. 2 for Town Crier.)
Jarred Friedman is running in Ward 10.
Local resident Jarred Friedman is running in ward 10 to improve safety, planning and transit and to keep spending in check.
Residents want to be better informed and engaged in the planning process, said Friedman, who is fluent in French, English, Hebrew and Yiddish.
Considering Friedman was a planner with the City of Edmonton and has worked on projects in Toronto, he’s confident his experience will be an asset.
“I can give my advice on planning issues. I have knowledge of municipal government and experience holding public meetings,” said the York Centre council candidate.
Posted in Toronto Politics
Tagged 10, candidate, centre, city, Friedman, Jarred, Kris Scheuer, planner, Town Crier, ward, York
(Written for Town Crier Aug. 26.)
Ward 14 council candidate Cullen Simpson waited years to follow his passion of politics. Photo courtesy of the candidate.
He’s running for council in ward 14, but Cullen Simpson says it took him 15 years to make the political leap.
Simspon studied business and politics and said his connections in government and in Parkdale encouraged him to run for years, but the timing was never right — until now.
Now his daughters are in university and he’s at the stage in his career that frees up time to make the switch to politics, he said.
“You need to commit yourself 100 percent to the job of being a councillor,” said Simpson, who’s worked in the office equipment supply business for 30 years.
The decision to run has him overjoyed.
“I couldn’t feel the ground,” he said of registering on Aug. 18. Continue reading