Activist seeks NDP nomination in Toronto Centre
Published Tuesday, January 5, 2010 5:19PM EST
A nurse and veteran advocate for Toronto's homeless will be seeking the NDP nomination for Toronto-Centre.
Cathy Crowe is the only declared candidate to seek the NDP nomination so far. The party has scheduled a nomination meeting for Jan. 24, but may move it up depending on when Premier Dalton McGuinty calls a byelection.
"I know the riding inside out, and I've seen a lot of bad policy decisions made by this current government," Crowe told ctvtoronto.ca on Tuesday. "I feel like I can be a voice for people."
She said the misspending of the eHealth scandal angered her, and she wants bring attention to the effects of the worsening economy combined with declining funding for social agencies.
"It's the right time in my life to actually do this," said the first-time political candidate.
Crowe said no other NDP hopefuls have stepped forward yet.
The byelection is necessary because Liberal MPP George Smitherman has resigned his seat to run for mayor of Toronto, although he hasn't formally registered as a candidate yet.
Crowe has solid progressive credentials. She helped found the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee in 1998 and authored "Dying for a Home." She is the subject of the documentary "Street Nurse."
She has been honoured with a 2003 International Nursing Ethics Award and a 2004 Atkinson Charitable Foundation Economic Justice Award.
One Liberal who has expressed an interest in becoming the riding's MPP is Glen Murray, a former mayor of Winnipeg. Murray had mused about running for mayor of Toronto, but then decided to pursue the nomination in Smitherman's old riding.
The Liberals will hold their nomination meeting Wednesday evening. A party spokesperson told ctvtoronto.ca that Murray is expected to be acclaimed at that meeting.
The Montreal-born Murray, who is openly gay, is considered to have a good handle on urban issues. He has worked on a provincial advisory panel on climate change for the past three years, as well as an advisory panel on managing growing in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
The Ontario Progressive Conservatives have not yet had a candidate step forward.
Toronto Centre stretches from the southern boundary of Mount Pleasant Cemetery south to Lake Ontario. It is bounded on the east by the Don River and on the west by Yonge Street and Avenue Road.
There are 114,851 people in the riding. It is home to some of the city's wealthiest residents, mainly in Rosedale, and some of its poorest in Regent Park. Toronto's gay village is centred around Church and Wellesley Streets.
The openly gay Smitherman, first elected in 1999, polled 21,522 votes in the 2007 general election. Progressive Conservative candidate Pamela Taylor placed second with 9,084, while the NDP's Sandra Gonzalez placed third with 8,464. Mike McLean of the Green Party placed fourth with 4,412 votes.
When the byelection happens, it will be the second test for the McGuinty Liberals in Toronto since the 2007 general election. Dr. Eric Hoskins held the seat for the party in a mid-September byelection in which the McGuinty government came under fierce attack for the eHealth scandal and its HST tax harmonization policy.