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Thomson eyes Trinity-Spadina

July 1st, 2011 · No Comments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Lindsay Tsuji

Former mayoral candidate to run for provincial seat. Perry King/Gleaner News

Former Toronto mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson’s name will be back on the ballot, but this time she’s going provincial. Thomson officially launched her campaign as the Liberal candidate for Trinity-Spadina late last month. The Gleaner sat down with Thomson to discuss her nomination, her platform, and why she’s qualified to represent Trinity-Spadina at Queen’s Park.

How does it feel to be the Liberal nominee for Trinity-Spadina?

It feels like coming home. Before that I was sort of in the middle. You try not to be biased either way in publishing, so you try to keep out of the politics. But I looked at it and said, out of all of Toronto where would I want to run? When I first moved to Toronto I moved on to Harbord Street and Howland. It’s a really diverse riding and I love that. That line that we have in Toronto “Diversity, our Strength”— that is so much the case in Trinity-Spadina.

Some reports indicated that you were going to run in the Parkdale-High Park riding. Is there any truth to that?

That was just a rumour; there was no substance of truth to that at all. The big thing was that I had to pay off my mayoral debts. I’ve always said that I wanted to get involved but I just needed to focus on that debt. I didn’t want to get sidetracked with something else before I was ready.

Rosario Marchese has been a favourite in the area for a very long time. How do you plan to compete?

I look around and say, what has he done? What am I going up against? I couldn’t find anything. He’s tried to do things but nothing has worked out for him.

I think it’s so important that the riding does get representation and a voice, and right now they don’t have a voice. Rosie’s been there for 20 years now. I think the community is getting reinvigorated: you can see the change and the young urbanites going into the condos; you can see the new families. There’s a sense of new energy there. In a sense that’s what I represent. I’m a do-er. I’m not somebody that can sit on the sidelines and criticize the government. I’m someone that says okay, what does this riding need and what can we bring to the table?

I’ve campaigned there and canvassed there. I’ve actually gone door-to-door—especially for these young families. I can relate to them; I have a son in junior kindergarten and that’s something they’re not getting from Rosario. Rosario doesn’t even live there, he moved out of the riding. What does that tell you? To me that’s really important. If you care about the riding you have to be there.

What issues are important to you?

Full-day kindergarten, clean energy, and infrastructure. In 2006 the Liberals funded the one piece of subway we’re building now. That’s the direction we should be heading. How do we make the city more workable?

There have been a few controversial decisions made by the provincial Liberal Party—the G20 “fence law” and implementing the HST come to mind. What will you do to capture some non-Liberal believers out there?

Things like the HST, you look at it and overall it’s showing that it’s a good thing. We might have to pay more for some things, but at the end of the day low-income families aren’t being hit as hard. More jobs are being created. I look at it on a more local scale, and ask, is this impacting on businesses, is it helping businesses? Yes, it is. As a business owner myself, I can say the HST is a good thing. Firsthand, as a business owner I’ve read the studies and the studies show that it’s a good thing. There are studies that show that the HST is better for Canada overall.

Why do you think you’re qualified to represent the riding at Queen’s Park?

I studied the platforms of the parties carefully before I made a decision. I’m qualified because I have the experience of ten months of campaigning (as a mayoral candidate). As a business owner, I’ve learned to build consensus and build profitable enterprises. I’m a strong believer in the school of hard knocks and hands-on experiences. I look forward to community building with community groups and leaders.  I also have a great relationship with the councillors at city hall, and I’ll build to create space for the community.

What else should Trinity-Spadina residents hope to see from your platform?

I want to open the idea up about the use of Ontario Place. How do we generate more jobs for people in the community? How do we keep it safe and vibrant in the off-season? Do we need to have the air show in a residential neighbourhood? Could we have it somewhere else? The community needs somebody to hear them. I want to hear all the little issues.

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