after finishing fourth in thelast two provincial by-elections, the NDP put on a show of force last Thursday night (July 26) at a meeting to find a successor to popular departing MPP Frances Lankin.The basement meeting room of a church at Danforth and Main became a sauna as a parade of well-wishers sent Lankin off to her new job as president of the United Way of Greater Toronto. "There are some who think we're down and out, but we will not go away," said Lankin.
Beaches-East York is NDP heartland. A loss here would mean death, especially since it has found the dream candidate in city councillor and former East York mayor Michael Prue.
Both the Green party and the Liberals (the latter even offered a cabinet seat) tried to hook Prue, but he opted for the NDP. "I've been a member for 33 years," Prue said in an interview after his nomination.
Prue says he wants to move to Queen's Park because many issues city councillors have to deal with emanate from the provincial sphere. For example, he says that two years ago two-thirds of apartments rented for less than $800 a month, but today it's one-third, because of the Tory rent law.
There had been speculation that former mayor Barbara Hall would run for the Liberals. Not so, Hall tells NOW. Although she was approached by the Libs, the NDP and, shockingly, the Tories ("I was surprised, too," she admits), cities are her big interest, and she's considering another run for mayor.
It's up to Premier Mike Harris to set a date for the by-election; a fall date is thought likely. Neither the Libs nor the Tories have set a date for a nomination meeting.