Newly sworn in Etobicoke-Lakeshore Conservative MPP Doug Holyday has endorsed longtime Etobicoke resident and local volunteer Peter Leon to take over his Etobicoke Centre Ward 3 Toronto City Council seat until the 2014 general election.
Many others are also tossing their hats in the ring for the appointment to the vacant post.
On Monday, Toronto council rejected Mayor Rob Ford’s bid to hold a $225,000 byelection to replace Holyday and instead voted 22-11 to appoint someone to fill the council vacancy created when Holyday won the Aug. 1 Etobicoke-Lakeshore provincial byelection.
“Peter has done a lot, chairing former Etobicoke Hydro, the Etobicoke Library board, the Red Shield Appeal, the homeless project at his church, Our Lady of Peace,” Holyday said from Queen’s Park. “He’s dependable and fiscally responsible. I think he’d make a great replacement. “He’s not really a politician. But he’d be a very good choice to fill in for the interim.”
Leon, 71, who is retired from a career in sales, said he has no intention of running in the October 2014 general municipal election: “It would not be fair or right in my mind to run.”
He said he is a fiscal conservative like Holyday. Leon also described himself as a conciliator.
“Doug is very well-respected and very well-regarded,” Leon said of Holyday, whom he has known for more than 30 years. “My challenge will be to emulate that, and I will. I want to bring the thoughts and concerns of citizens to city council. (Doug and I) think alike in many ways. I believe if you’re going to spend money, you need to have a return on investment.”
Many others are also making their pitches for the Ward 3 post.
Former MP John Nunziata has said he’s considering it. Frances Nunziata, his sister, is Toronto council’s speaker and a strong ally of Ford’s.
John Campbell, former Toronto District School Board chair and neighbouring Ward 4 resident, spoke to reporters about his interest in running minutes after Toronto council’s vote. A month ago, Campbell said he’d seek the appointment. However, on Monday he spoke out against Toronto council’s vote in favour of an appointment.
“I believe in the city. I believe in democracy. If you ask me, if you ask the citizens of Etobicoke Centre, this was an irresponsible move on the part of city council,” he said, adding that he plans to run somewhere in the October 2014 general municipal election.
Campbell lost the 2010 municipal election in Ward 4 to longtime incumbent Gloria Lindsay Luby by only 300 votes.
Former Etobicoke councillor and former Canadian citizenship judge Agnes Potts wants the job, but only until the October 2014 general election.
“I’m definitely not running in the next election. I’ve done my share of elections. My only interest is to represent the ward I live in and finish the term,” Potts said. “I know the ward. I’m interested in community service.”
Potts ran and won in Holyday’s ward in 1994 when he ran for Etobicoke mayor. She served one term prior to city amalgamation.
Former Etobicoke Centre MPP and city councillor Chris Stockwell is also interested in the post, but tweeted he also won’t run in the 2014 general election.
Lawyer Stephen Thiele may also take a crack at the appointment. Head of the fledgling Toronto Party, Thiele lives just outside the ward. He ran in the 2003 municipal election against longtime Ward 4 incumbent councillor Lindsay Luby who held her seat.
The Toronto Party will soon name a designate to seek the appointment, said Thiele, who said there should be three conditions to taking over the caretaker Ward 3 councillor role: that the designate won’t run in the next municipal election in October 2014; that person won’t take a salary for the job; nor will the person spend any money from the councillor’s office budget.
“Talking with the people managing the Toronto Party, it seems to be the right thing to do,” Thiele said. “It will save taxpayers money. The person will not run for city council at all, as has happened in the past in other wards. The office budget is too frequently used to promote the name of the councillor for re-election purposes. I don’t think Doug Holyday ever spent much of his office budget.”
Dean French, who owns a wealth management company and sat on the executive of Kingsway Residents Against Poor Planning during an Ontario Municipal Board fight, said he intends to run for the Ward 3 seat in the Oct. 27, 2014 municipal election. But French said he won’t seek the appointment to take the post until then.
“I want to be an elected representative not an appointed one. If you’re going to represent people, you should be elected,” French said. “I would have been happy to run in a byelection. I’ll certainly be entering the race in the general election next fall.”
A candidate for appointment must be 18, a Canadian citizen, and city resident or landowner.
The city clerk told council on Monday the city would advertise the vacancy in The Etobicoke Guardian, as well as one Toronto daily newspaper, and accept applications through Sept. 26.
Candidates get five minutes each to make their pitch to Etobicoke York Community Council on Oct. 3 and again at city council Oct. 10. Both meetings will be held at 9:30 a.m.
Etobicoke York Community Council will make its Ward 3 appointee recommendation to city council, which will then appoint a Ward 3 representative to complete this council term.