On­tario politi­cians court may­ors

The Hamilton Spectator - - LO­CAL - AL­LI­SON JONES

TORONTO — On­tario’s po­lit­i­cal lead­ers are ramp­ing up ef­forts to court in­flu­en­tial may­ors who pre­side over vote-rich ar­eas of the Toronto re­gion, lit­tle more than one year from the elec­tion.

A pub­lic schism be­tween Premier Kath­leen Wynne and Toronto Mayor John Tory has pro­vided the op­po­si­tion lead­ers with an op­por­tu­nity to swoop in and make a play for the sup­port of the leader of a city that holds about two dozen rid­ings in the 2018 elec­tion.

NDP Leader An­drea Hor­wath met with him Mon­day, promis­ing that an NDP gov­ern­ment would fund one-third of so­cial hous­ing re­pairs. Tory has been de­cry­ing a $2.6-bil­lion back­log in re­pairs and has slammed the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment for a lack of sup­port in last month’s pro­vin­cial bud­get.

“We’re ex­haust­ing the city’s con­tri­bu­tion of close to $1 bil­lion and I cer­tainly would in­tend to make sure the peo­ple of Toronto know when they come to vote in the elec­tion that par­ties have taken the po­si­tions they have,” Tory said Mon­day af­ter wel­com­ing Hor­wath’s com­mit­ment.

The meet­ing comes a week af­ter Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive Leader Pa­trick Brown made over­tures of his own at city hall. The op­po­si­tion lead­ers see a win­dow, which Tory has cre­ated by say­ing he won’t en­dorse any leader in par­tic­u­lar, but will en­dorse poli­cies. The elec­tion is set for June 7, 2018.

“It’s kind of like dat­ing,” said Amanda Gal­braith, a prin­ci­pal at Nav­i­ga­tor Ltd. “He’s be­ing courted.”

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