Political parties are aligning their stars for next year’s Ontario election

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Provincial elections are eight months away, but star candidates are already forming coalitions.

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All four of Ontario’s political parties are tapping into key people running for him in the June 2 campaign – including two provincial watchdogs whose jobs were sacked by Premier Doug Ford shortly after the 2018 election.

On Wednesday, the New Democrats announced Irwin Ellman — the province’s first and only child advocate who served as an independent voice for youth — would run in Don Wally West’s Toronto ride.

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That major Toronto ride has been represented since 2003 by former Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne, who is not seeking re-election.

“We are thrilled that Irwin has found his home in the NDP,” New Democratic Leader Andrea Horvath said. “We share a steadfast commitment to making lives better for people.”

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Elman said he is rushing to address the “nonsense we have now” under the Progressive Conservative government.

He said that his mother had always told him, “You are not responsible to change the world, but you are not exempt from trying.”

Indeed, when asked about his chances of winning in a ride never won by the NDP, Elman called it a “mistake of counting the ballots before they were cast”.

“The pandemic has laid things bare for all to see,” he said.

“We’ve seen what happens… when the government doesn’t start from a place focusing on the well-being of the people.”

In Brantford-Brant, the NDP is hoping that Harvey Bischoff, a well-known former teachers’ union president, will defeat Progressive Conservative MPP Will Bauma, who won by a narrow margin in 2018.

“I still have the commitment and energy to give, and I thought this was a way I could take it forward,” said Bischoff, whose tenure as executive at the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation spans its 102-year history. was the longest. .

Bischoff, who lives in Brantford, said that his focus is “the general belief that government can be a force for good in people’s lives – it is to provide stability and reduce uncertainty and help people do something with their lives.” Opportunity can help.”

Diane Saxe, whose position as environmental commissioner was abolished by Ford in 2018, has also thrown her hat into the partisan ring as the Green candidate at University-Rosedale, currently held by New Democrat Jessica Bell.

Saxe, a lawyer with a doctorate who has been recognized internationally for his work on the environment, was the party’s first candidate to be announced for election next spring.

As with Elman, her former position was dropped as Ford tried to streamline the sentinel overseeing the provincial government after winning power.

Saxe — whose father, Morton Schulman, was the New Democratic MPP in High Park from 1967 to 1975 — insists that while she is “non-partisan… I can’t live apart anymore.”

“Along with others in Ontario, I am running to fight for a clean, safe and healthy future,” said the chairman of Toronto’s climate advisory committee.

Even though the Tories won 76 of the 124 legislative seats in the last election, they are trying to add to their tally by targeting the ridings represented by New Democrats and Liberals.

On Tuesday, Ford announced that Timmins Mayor George Pirie would be his candidate in a traditional New Democratic stronghold, now represented by veteran MPP Gilles Bisson.

“He is one of the greatest mayors in the province,” Ford said during a campaign-style swing through the northern city, where he praised Pirie for “leading during this pandemic.”

The Tories also aim to take on Scarborough-Guildwood with candidate Alicia Vianga, a small business owner and advocate for breast cancer survivors and their families.

A well-known local businessman, Vianga has a boutique that offers swimsuits and lingerie as well as bras and prosthesis fittings.

While parties have high expectations from their high-profile candidates, some will face a tough fight.

Scarborough-Guildwood, for example, is currently held by the Liberal Mitzi Hunter. A respected former cabinet minister in Wynne’s government, Hunter was one of only seven grits to retain his seats in the 2018 Conservative landslide.

Steven del Duca’s Liberals, who opened in 117 riding three years ago due to poor performances, are also bringing newcomers into the fold.

In Mississauga-Streetsville — now hosted by associate minister for Small Business and Red Tape Reduction Nina Tangri — the Liberals have drawn Jill Promoly into the fold.

Promolly is a small business owner and mother who has been vocal about the importance of influenza prevention and vaccination since one of her twin sons died at the age of two from the virus in 2016.

He later founded an advocacy and information group called “For Jude, For Everyone”, which gained international attention.

In Toronto-St. Paul, a once-secured Liberal seat now represented by prominent New Democrat Jill Andrew, is fielding grits Dr. Nathan Stoll.

Stahl, who until recently was a member of the province’s COVID-19 “science table” of advisers,, like some other doctors, rose to prominence during the pandemic as an outspoken critic of the government on both Twitter and in the mainstream media.

A specialist in internal medicine and geriatrics, he has researched seniors and long-term care, which is now a major policy focus for all four political parties.

“Nathan’s expertise in health care is what we need to ensure that the people of Ontario remain safe and sound as they recover from the pandemic,” del Duca said in August.

“With Nathan at Queen’s Park, Toronto-St. Paul has someone in his corner who is really ready to fight for him and his families.”

Robert Benji Starr is Queens Park’s bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie
Rob Ferguson is a Toronto-based reporter who covers Ontario politics for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @RobFerguson1
Kristin Rushovi is a Toronto-based reporter who covers Ontario politics for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @krushowy
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