So, how does it feel to be Toronto’s lone Progressive Conservative MPP?
“Lonely,” chuckled a subdued Doug Holyday Friday, Aug. 2, less than 12 hours after he cinched a close-fought battle against fellow Councillor Peter Milczyn for the Etobicoke-Lakeshore seat. “I need company.”
Deputy mayor Holyday – a longtime Etobicoke Centre councillor, who also served as mayor of the former City of Etobicoke – captured 16,130 votes (or 46.6 per cent) to Milczyn’s 14,513 votes (or 41.9 per cent) to claim the seat left vacant by veteran Liberal cabinet minister Laurel Broten’s surprise resignation last month.
While he may have been a bit reluctant to even run at first, Holyday’s landmark victory marked the first time the PCs have captured a provincial seat in Toronto since 1999 – the first of many more to come, he predicted in his victory speech late Thursday night.
“I really didn’t have much intent to switch careers at this stage in the game, but Tim (Hudak) and others convinced me that we could do it and it would be a big step in the right direction for the Conservative party and for the people of Ontario,” Holyday said to cheers from a packed house of supporters at The Brawley. “I hope we can convince others to run in Toronto. I think we can; I think we can win more seats here; I think we can win more seats in the province; and I think we can form the government.”
PC Leader Tim Hudak, who made a surprise appearance at Holyday’s victory party Thursday night, agreed: “It is thrilling to win our first seat here in the City of Toronto since 1999. Let me say this too, friends: there’s more to come for the PCs,” Hudak said, lauding Holyday for being the breakthrough candidate the the party needed to gain presence in Toronto. “Doug Holyday has been a strong voice in Etobicoke for 30 years. For 30 years, he always put the taxpayer first. Friends, he helped to clean up the mess at city hall, now he’s going to clean up the mess at Queen’s Park.”
Now that he’s claimed the title of Etobicoke-Lakeshore’s newly elected MPP, Holyday said his top local priority will be seeing to the preservation of Mr. Christie’s 27-acre parcel of land at Park Lawn and Lake Shore Boulevard West.
Last year, Mondelez Canada announced its intention to close the 625,000-square-foot biscuit manufacturing facility in 2013 after more than 60 years in Etobicoke. Soon after, rumours began to fly about a proposal to build 27 new residential towers on the site – a rumour widely condemned by local residents.
“I would like to see if we couldn’t get the government to agree to put a provincial interest on the Christie Brown site,” Holyday said post-byelection, during a phone interview with The Guardian from Queen’s Park. “I heard a lot of comment from people that they’re concerned at what might happen at that site. It’s certainly something that we as Etobicoke and the City of Toronto had never planned for anything other than commerce and industry. So I’d like to see how much of that can be preserved and how much of it might be used for public purposes.”
Also on Holyday’s agenda: continuing his fight against needless government spending on behalf of the taxpayer.
“From what I was hearing on people’s doorsteps, mainly they are upset with the management of the tax dollars – and I intend to have a say on that whenever the opportunity comes up,” he said. “I just think tax dollars are too scarce and too valuable to be wasted.”