The popular two-term councillor officially launches his campaign for the Liberal party nomination in Trinity-Spadina.
In a move that could see him resign his seat on Toronto city council, Adam Vaughan (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina) has officially launched a campaign to seek the federal Liberal party nomination in the riding of Trinity-Spadina. Former NDP member of Parliament Olivia Chow vacated the seat earlier this year to run in the mayoral election.
Vaughan’s effort to replace Chow sets the stage for a rematch between two powerful downtown political forces: Joe Cressy, who was formerly tapped to manage Chow’s campaign, has earned the NDP nomination in Trinity-Spadina; Vaughan defeated Helen Kennedy, Chow’s former executive assistant, in the 2006 municipal election.
Vaughan, a two-term councillor who has made housing the central focus of his political career, told the crowd of about 150 people gathered at the Madison Avenue Pub last night that he could accomplish more on the file as a Liberal member of Parliament. “When I was told this party was going back to housing, I joined,” Vaughan said. He added that Liberal leader Justin Trudeau shares his desire to make municipal issues more central to federal governance.
Organizers chose two former mayors of Toronto, both of whom went on to become federal cabinet ministers, to introduce Vaughan. Senator Art Eggleton led off the evening with a call to action, and David Crombie praised Vaughan for his outspoken style. “He’s the hardest-working, most honest person I have met in a long time,” said Crombie, “even when I wish he wasn’t so honest.”
In an interview shortly after his speech to supporters, Vaughan told us he is ready to move on from City Hall. “I’ve been there for two terms, and it’s been an extraordinary privilege,” said Vaughan, “but every one of the things we’ve been working on could have been done better and faster if we had a partner in Ottawa.” Vaughan also said he has declined many requests to run for mayor, because he wants to focus on putting a national spotlight on housing issues.
When we asked Vaughan how the federal Liberals, currently the third party in the House of Commons, can influence municipal issues, he retorted, “No, we’re not in third. Look at the polls—we’re in first place.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has not yet announced a date for the byelection.