Tag Archives: David Natale

Genco better than PC party

22 Aug

I have come to like Tony Genco, the Progressive Conservative candidate in the Oct. 6 provincial election. I like his spunk, his tenacity, his ability to withstand the howling winds of change, and also the howling voices of detractors, while pressing on to do what it is he feels he needs to do.

No matter that he willingly stepped out into the storm that now assails him as he trudges purposefully across the Vaughan political landscape. At least he trudges with purpose. He has appointed himself well in recent interviews, has shown himself capable of the wider view and has exhibited a political intelligence for which he does not often get credit. And his will to win far surpasses that demonstrated by the exclusive, reclusive and elusive local political entity to which he has hitched his wagon.

In fact, were it not for the outrageously media-unsavvy Conservative association around him, I might be inclined to suggest he is capable of stealing some of the spotlight from Liberal incumbent Greg Sorbara in the campaign that has just now begun to unfold.

A full cast of colourful characters have burst out of the gate, full of bravado all, as they prepare to mount a challenge to the giant that is Sorbara. All have fought on other fields — Genco ran federally as a Liberal, the NDP’s Paul Donofrio and the Reform Party of Ontario’s David Natale have run municipally — and are now ready for their first taste of victory. All will draw some media attention simply because they are interesting characters, but it will take more than in-passing notation to outshine Sorbara The Quotable.

As though finding a way to outmaneuver Sorbara The Deliverer, Sorbara The Accomplished and Sorbara The Entrenched were any small feat.

Genco has a profile, but there’s nothing coming his way in the line of support beyond what he manufactures himself. Successful political parties have systems in place, layers deep, to ensure that their messaging is both well crafted and well distributed. The Liberal party wrote the book on that; the Conservatives apparently failed to read it.

Vaughan Today, for some odd reason, doesn’t seem to stay on local Conservative contact lists very long. Which probably explains why it takes a certain resolute impoliteness on our part to gain entry to most of their important events.

We found ourselves shut out of the Ontario PC party GTA fundraiser in Vaughan last week too. We had to resort to other means to listen in as premier-hopeful Tim Hudak trumpeted the party’s [changebook] platform in his 20-minute speech. I still marvel at how it never occurred to him to use the occasion and locale to put in a word for Vaughan candidate Genco.

This disconnect with local organizers was reminiscent of the Julian Fantino federal campaign in May, where Vaughan Today had to practically beat down the door to be included in Conservative events such as a Prime Minister Stephen Harper visit (which we almost always found out about from other sources). We elected not to beat down the door for the Hudak event, lest we exhibit bad form and perhaps barge in right in the middle of … oh … Richmond Hill candidate Vic Gupta’s address. (Guess the braintrust figured that, this being the Weston Road and Highway 7 area, they should “localize” things — with York Region representation.)

Ideology aside, what Genco lost when he left the Liberal party is access to a credible political vehicle to deliver him and his message to the people. The loss makes him the contemporary of Donofrio and Natale — not of Sorbara — in this race. Only Sorbara has the luxury of strong party presence to draw on. Genco might be better off following his own maverick spirit than conforming to the “strategy” of a group that behaves as though it does not recognize the need to sell its message.

— Dan Hoddinott


You wanna know #3: Isn’t the hospital a provincial thing? (McGuinty mum on Vaughan hospital commitment)

21 Oct


Dalton McGuinty

Dalton McGuinty


We’ve heard lots of campaigning about Vaughan’s hospital. Josh Freeman bumped into Premier Dalton McGuinty yesterday, and, since its the province that’s ultimately in charge, he thought he’d ask him: Dalton, where’s our hospital?

McGuinty said the province will build 18 new hospital in the coming years, but that he’s not sure ‘where Vaughan fits’ in the plan.

McGuinty made the comments after touring a new ‘Family Health Team’ facility in North York this morning. After the tour he stopped to make a statement about the government’s health care achievements over the last few years and to take questions from reporters.

“I’m not sure off the top of my head where Vaughan fits in,” McGuinty said after Vaughan Today asked if the city was included on the list. “What I can say is that we’re proud of the continuing investments we make in improving care in Ontario.”

So far the provincial government has committed $7 million towards preliminary design plans for the project, but has not committed to funding construction of the building. (Ed. Note: It’s complicated stuff. A city is responsible for buying the land for its hospital, 10 percent of construction and 100 percent of furnishings, equipment and fixtures. The province funds the rest. Learn more here.)

Creating a new hospital in Vaughan has been identified by most council candidates as a key priority moving forward in the city. (We’ve heard some candidates are campaigning on the fact shovels will be in the ground next term.)

McGuinty added the government has increased hospital funding by close to 50 percent since 2003 and that there will be a long-term capital plan in the province, but said he couldn’t speak to a Vaughan hospital.


Note: At the mayoral debate on Monday, Mayor Linda Jackson gave a breakdown of what’s happened with the hospital so far.

Now you know.

In the ring: Mayoral candidates square off

19 Oct

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By Joshua Freeman

Health infrastructure, traffic and development were the issues dominating an even-tempered Vaughan mayoral debate last night at which no candidate emerged a clear winner.

About 200 people crowded into a banquet hall at Beth Avraham Yosef Congregation of Toronto in Thornhill to hear all eight mayoral candidates speak in a debate co-sponsored by the synagogue and the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (CJPAC).

Former Vaughan MP Maurizio Bevilacqua opened the debate by telling the audience he “came back from Ottawa because the community told him there was a need for change.”

Paul Donofrio followed, emphasizing accountability and imploring the audience to “choose in your heart the mayor who has the utmost integrity.”

Mayor Linda Jackson went next with an impassioned statement about having had to work with a council that has been against her since the 2006 election.

“In the past four years as mayor I’ve stood alone. They have maligned me, they have ridiculed me, they’ve made comments about my looks,” said Jackson, rising in her place. “I did not give up and I will not give up. I have a job to finish at city hall and I plan to do just that.”

Some jabs traded

Although the debate was mainly civil, there were a few shots traded back and forth. Former councillor and MPP Mario Racco attacked Jackson and Vaughan council for having voted to develop hundreds of acres of formerly protected lands by voting for a three per cent expansion of the urban boundary. Jackson shot back that Racco’s wife, councillor Sandra Yeung-Racco, had voted for the expansion as well.

Racco also criticized Bevilacqua for not resigning his federal post sooner if he was so eager to run for mayor. Bevilacqua rebutted it takes 37 days to elect a prime minister and more time isn’t needed for a mayor.

Candidates brings out laughs

The debate was also punctuated with lively comments by second-time mayoral candidate Savino Quatela. Speaking about the need for weekly garbage collection in the summer, Quatela told the audience he ‘eats a lot of fish in the summer’ and has many grandchildren who produce ‘a lot of caca.’

Of particular interest to the Thornhill audience was a question about a new by-law forbidding private homes from being used as places of worship. The issue strikes a chord in Thornhill, where daily Jewish prayers require a quorum of at least 10 men, and neighbours traditionally gather at one another’s homes for prayer.

Jackson emphasized the need to tread carefully when passing laws around religious practice, noting such rules could affect gatherings as diverse as mourning houses and weddings. She said she would assemble an interfaith committee to carefully examine the issue and prioritize worshipper safety.  Most other candidates agreed, except Tony Lombardi, who said government should have nothing to do with limiting religious practice in any way.

As with other debates held in Vaughan so far, some candidates complained discussion was stifled by a format that didn’t allow audience participation except in the form of written questions submitted to the moderator. But afterwards citizens generally described the event as useful in helping them decide whom to vote for.

“I came out because I was undecided about the mayor and this helped me decide,” said one woman who was impressed with both David Natale and Lorini and described herself as a 30-year resident of Vaughan. “They brought up a very good issue—transportation for the disabled. I needed services for at least five years with Wheel Trans and I had to take taxis because there was no way to get into Toronto.”

One gentleman who helped organize the debate said he was impressed with all the thoughtful responses from candidates.

“I think by and large we got a good hearing,” said Morris Maron. “A lot of the candidates made good cases for themselves. I would say I was probably more impressed with one candidate just because I hadn’t seen him or known him and I think he presented himself very well. But I think they all did a great job.”

The event was one of a handful of mayoral debates taking place ahead of next Monday’s municipal election.

Click here to see a replay of Vaughan Today’s live blog from the debate.

Chance to meet your candidates TONIGHT in Kleinburg

19 Oct

The Kleinburg and Area Ratepayers Association will host a Meet and Greet session for Mayoral, regional and Ward 1 candidates tonight (Oct. 19) at Kleinburg Public School.
It’s a long one – from 7 p.m til 10 p.m. Starting at just after 7 or so, each mayoral, regional and Ward 1 candidate will be invited to make a two-minute statement. Then the remaining of the evening will be meet and greet style — you can mill about and chat to the candidates (til about 10 p.m.)
Here’s your chance to chat face-to-face with some of the candidates. If you don’t live in Ward 1, you can still meet the mayoral and regional hopefuls.
(Why not make a night of it, go for dinner in the village!)

Live Blog: Vaughan Mayoral debate tonight Oct. 18

18 Oct

Joshua Freeman will live blog tonight’s mayoral debate at  Beth Avraham Yosef Congregation of Toronto (Synagogue) 613 Clark Ave. Thornhill, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

If you can’t make it to the debate in person, keep an eye on http://www.VaughanToday.ca/blog where Josh will CoverItLive. You can see what the candidates have to say, and participate in a chat on there.

Visit Vaughan Today tonight at 7:30 p.m.

The debate will be held at Beth Avraham Yosef Congregation of Toronto and hosted in partnership with CJPAC and the League for Human Rights of B’Nai Brith Canada.

Hope to see you there. Or online here.



Hear ye, hear ye: Reminder, Vaughan debates on Rogers TV tonight!

17 Oct

The Rogers TV regional council and mayoral debates will air TONIGHT, Oct. 17 on Rogers TV York Region.

7:00 PM – Candidates for Mayor in The City of Vaughan debate the issues.
8:00 PM – Candidates for three Regional Councillor positions in Vaughan debate the issues.

I’ve heard through the grapevine that these pre-recorded debates were lively and at times heated.

Tune in tonight to watch your candidates duke it out.

Now, I am not entirely positive about which channel(s) these will turn up on on your TV. I think (now, don’t get mad if I’ve got this wrong!) that Rogers York Region is on channels 10 and 63. (That’s on their website.)

Since I don’t at present live north of Steeles, I have a sinking suspicion that my Cable 10 won’t be showing this debate. So, if you can record and upload, or fill me in later, I’d appreciate it!


Hey York U Students: The polls are coming to you (and you, staff and neighbours)

14 Oct

York University may be outside of Vaughan’s borders (just barely), but Vaughan has long sent many a student to study there.

And this year marks the first time Vaughan residents who study or work at York University can cast a ballot for their municipal and regional reps there, too.

It’s actually the first time that you can cast your ballot for Vaughan outside of Vaughan (and, correct me if I’m wrong, but this may be a first for the province? It was a recommendation from the Democratic Taskforce).

But wait, there’s more: Any Vaughan resident who happens to be in the York U neighbourhood on Oct. 18 or 19 can cast a ballot there.

All you need is photo I.D (one piece of ID with your name, address and signature, for example your Ontario Driver’s Licence or two pieces of ID – the first with your name and signature, and the second with your name and Vaughan address. For example: A Canadian passport AND a Statement of Old Age Security) If you got a Voters Card in the mail, bring that too. (If you didn’t get one in the mail call the City Clerk’s office at 905-832-8504. Or you can check to see if you are on the list by going to the, “AM I ON THE VOTERS’ LIST” section on VaughanVotes website.

Here is the city’s press release on the subject:


VAUGHAN, ON – Staff, faculty and students at York University who are residents of the City of Vaughan don’t have to wait until Election Day to cast their ballot. Voters will head to the polls across the province on Monday, October 25, however, Vaughan residents who attend the school or work there are encouraged to take advantage of Advance Voting opportunities.

The City has two Advance Voting Days at York University, Monday October 18 and Tuesday October 19 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The poll is located in the Bear Pit in Central Square.

Voting at York University will employ ‘ballot-on-demand’ technology to print the appropriate blank ballot according to the ward and school support shown on the Voters’ List. Though back-up ballots will be on hand, ‘ballot-on-demand’ will produce the correct ballot from among the 25 different ballot faces in use for the election.

The City of Vaughan has also developed the ‘This is Your Space’ promotional campaign. It reminds voters that by simply filling in voting spaces on their ballots they are making choices that will shape the future of their community. Ballots in the 2010 election feature a red arrow pointing to the name of each candidate – the voter marks the ballot by filling in the space with the special pen provided. ‘This is Your Space’ is designed to encourage voters to come out and vote, and to inform them about election opportunities and procedures.

Ed. Note: I talked to the city’s communications team and they’ve confirmed that you actually don’t even need to know what ward you live in. Just bring your ID (and voter card if you have it) and mark your ballot.

But, just in case you wanna read up on your candidates (and, not to nag, but I think you should), here’s a Ward Map again!

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