Ontario politicians court mayors
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.”