Peter Milczyn was back at city hall Tuesday after his defeat in the Aug. 1 Etobicoke-Lakeshore byelection. And while he’ll stay on Mayor Rob Ford’s Executive Committee, he said his experience campaigning for the Ontario Liberals has taught him to be a little more partisan.
“If this has changed me in any way – well, I’ve been generally on the more bipartisan side of municipal politics, and I’ll certainly be bipartisan when it comes to my colleagues on council – but I think I’ve reawakened a more partisan on the political side,” said Milczyn, who represents Ward 5 (Etobicoke-Lakeshore) on Toronto council.
In particular, Milczyn said that Mayor Ford’s support for Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday – to now become the first Progressive Conservative MPP to serve a Toronto riding in a decade – crossed a line in terms of dealing with the provincial government.
At one point, Mayor Ford likened Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government to armed bank robbers, and said that a vote for the Liberals amounted to giving those bank robbers a gun.
“If the mayor makes comments like that about the provincial government then I’m going to call the mayor on that,” Milczyn said. “The mayor is a hard right-wing Tory, and you know, that’s fine. If you’re a businessman in Etobicoke you can wave your flag as much as you like, but if you’re mayor of the city you must be able to work with whatever government is in power.”
Milczyn said that he intends to resume work as chair of Toronto’s Planning and Growth Management Committee, where he wants to complete the Official Plan review and the city’s transportation plan.
But he also said that he’s not abandoned his provincial ambitions, and said he would almost certainly seek the nomination in Etobicoke-Lakeshore again, in the general election.
“I think, given the uncertainty of when a general election could happen, this was a great experience, I worked with a lot of great people and I feel strongly about what the government is doing, the program it’s initiating — so I certainly haven’t given up the fight,” he said.