Alliance flirting hurts Nunziata campaign

Rating: NNNNNThe maverick label has served independent MP John Nunziata well ever since he was banished by the Liberals for.


Rating: NNNNN


The maverick label has served independent MP John Nunziata well ever since he was banished by the Liberals for voting against the GST.

His 5,000-plus-vote win in 1997 against Grit rival Judy Sgro was validation enough of that.

Nunziata’s credibility has taken a few hits in recent months, though, and he’s not as confident this time out.

He’ll be facing a more formidable Grit opponent in Alan Tonks, a former city of York mayor, Metro council chair and Greater Toronto Services Board head, whose political ties in the area run deeper than any other candidate Nunziata’s had to face in the past.

Word is, Nunziata was looking for another area to run in in the lead-up to this race, and that he was canvassing residents as recently as a couple of weeks ago about running for the Canadian Alliance.

Political observers say his very public flirtation with the tax-cut-obsessed western populist party has diminished the currency he’s built up with working-class voters in York South-Weston.

Nunziata’s much-hyped and eventually aborted run for mayor this past summer came off, in the end, looking like a cheap publicity stunt.

And it was only a few months ago that he was telling anyone who would listen that his heart just isn’t in Ottawa any more.

What’s changed for the veteran MP?

Nunziata’s not saying when he’s reached on his cellphone Tuesday. He’s not interested, he says, in talking to reporters who’ve supposedly taken “cheap shots” at him in the past — a familiar refrain for Nunziata when he doesn’t want to be put on the spot. But there is a suggestion floating around that he’ll bolt to the Alliance after the vote — if he’s lucky enough to win re-election.

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