Former Winnipeg mayor and current Liberal candidate Glen Murray, a man often called a visionary when it comes to municipal renewal, appears to have been lured to Toronto last week to scatter a little glitter on the sagging campaigns of local Grit MPs Tony Ianno (Trinity-Spadina) and Mario Silva (Davenport). It's hard to figure out why else he would have taken time from his own campaign to trek along College Street with the two in tow.
Of course, Liberal handlers deny the respected former mayor was a prop to make Libs not known for their interest in urban affairs appear city-friendly. "Glen is a shining example of what can be done in a municipal government," say Pamela Jeffery from the Ontario Liberal campaign office.
Says city councillor Olivia Chow, Ianno's competition in Trinity-Spadina, "It's sad that there are 22 Liberal members of Parliament in Toronto and none can speak intelligently about the city. The Liberals are obviously desperate."
Ianno, whose base in the riding could do with a little firming up by a gay progressive like Murray, scoffs at the suggestion that he needed the trendy pol. He claims he's way ahead.
He and Murray have a lot in common, he says. Both celebrate the importance of social fabric, arts and culture, and community support.
Chow staged a counter-event the same day at 1 pm, attacking the Liberals for abandoning the city for the last five years. "I'm not sure this incumbent (Ianno) could tell us how much money from the gas tax will go to the TTC or how much money was spent or received for Toronto housing. He'd draw a blank," Chow says.