Election Diaries: Liberals and NDP battle in Trinity-Spadina

Image credit: thornypup on Flickr

Thankfully, here is a riding where we don’t have to worry about the Conservatives winning. We can vote as we wish without having to worry strategically. Or at least so we thought.

Olivia Chow has held the riding since 2006. Before that Tony Ianno held it for the Liberals between 1993 and 2006. Although Chow won in 2008 with a 3500 vote lead over the Liberal’s Christine Innes, the latter ran a terrible campaign. She is out in much greater force this time around. Rumour has it that this riding is a toss up right now.

I was at the all-candidates meeting last evening (April 20) and some of my thoughts follow.

What I find interesting about Innes’ campaign is what isn’t being discussed…certainly not by her.

For instance, I feel strongly that a candidate be judged on her own merits. The fact that she is Tony Ianno’s wife should theoretically not be held against her. However, I do find it interesting that she has made no mention of their relationship at all in this election. In fact I cannot find out much of anything about her. Aside from having four children and being involved in the Annex Residents Association and her church, she is described as a ‘community leader’ of whom very few people seem to have knowledge.  She has a long history of political backroom activity within the Liberal Party and works now as Chief of Staff to a provincial Liberal cabinet minister.

She really sounds like the proverbial backroom boy. Not a lot different from our previous Liberal MP, her unspoken husband. You may remember he was accused of having one of the worst attendance records of any MP in the House of Commons, certainly the worst participation record and generally seen as a do nothing MP.

There are some questions that some people in this riding would like addressed:

…Given that Mr Ianno, your husband, is under investigation by the Ontario Securities Commission (http://www.thestar.com/business/article/777840–ex-mp-tony-ianno-faces-securities-probe), what is your stand on ethics in government. Yes, I know that he and you are two different people, but I think the voting electorate has a right to know if there are ill gotten gains involved.  Given the legacy of the sponsorship scandal and the concerns around trust funds in the local Liberal riding association, would it not have been better not to pursue an Ianno/Innes dynasty but rather let someone fresh carry the banner for the Liberals locally (http://afuitbs.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/the-real-swing-factor-in-trinity-spadina/)?

… How can we trust  your commitment to public education given your choice to send your children to private school? In fact, what, then, is your commitment to Medicare as well given the context of the choices you make in your private life?

Well fellow Trinity-Spadina-ites, without those questions answered I don’t feel comfortable with Ms Innes. The previous Liberal government left power with an unfortunate reputation for sleaze. It is important that all Liberals make a clear break from that era. Innes’ close ties with the last Liberal member don’t do much to dispel old perceptions. I think people can be judged by the company they keep and it’s company I am not comfortable  with.

Although Olivia Chow too is a long time politician, Innes just smacks of backroom deals and political manoeuvring.

Frankly, from what little I have seen of Rachel Barney, the Green Party candidate, I quite like her. But while I would love to see Elizabeth May have a seat in the House, I am not going to vote Green and take a chance that the Liberals will take this seat… much as I would like to see the LIberals form a government. This last statement is based on my concerns that only the Liberals can get enough seats nationally to have any realistic chance of unseating the Conservatives. However, new opinion polls out this week may change the whole scenario. More in the days to follow.


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