4 Toronto-area councillors are campaigning to be MPPs in Ontario’s election

Four Toronto-area councillors are hoping to swap City Hall for Queen’s Park at the end of the ongoing Ontario election campaign.

Two PC candidates and one Ontario Liberal who are currently city councillors are campaigning to win seats in the Ontario legislature. One NDP candidate resigned her Toronto City Council position to run in the provincial election.

“Some of them are asked to do it — the parties go after them because they already have a profile, people have voted for them (before),” Nelson Wiseman, a professor specializing in political science at the University of Toronto, told Global News.

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In Brampton, Charmaine Williams, a local Ward 7 and 8 councillor, is on the ballot as the Progressive Conservative candidate. She is running against Ontario NDP deputy leader and incumbent Sara Singh. Safdar Hussain is running for the Ontario Liberals.

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In 2018, Singh fought off her Progressive Conservative challenger by a margin of fewer than 100 votes.

Williams did not respond to questions asking if she had taken an unpaid leave of absence from her council responsibilities to campaign.

To the south, former Ontario Liberal MPP Dipika Damerla is campaigning to return to Queen’s Park.

Damerla was swept away in the 2018 election by Kaleed Rasheed for the Ontario PCs, after holding the seat for Mississauga East — Cooksville since 2011. She has taken an unpaid leave of absence from her role as a Mississauga councillor to campaign against Rasheed and Khawar Hussain, the latter being Ontario NDP’s candidate.

The mayor of Barrie, Jeff Lehman, is also campaigning to win a seat as a Liberal.

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Two City of Toronto councillors elected most recently in 2018 are also challenging for seats at Queen’s Park.

Michael Ford, nephew of Ontario PC Leader Doug Ford, is seeking a win in the riding of York South-Weston. His campaign team told Global News he has stepped back from his council duties and is donating his salary but has not taken a leave of absence.

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Nadia Guerrera is running for the Ontario Liberal Party in the same riding, while Faisal Hassan of the Ontario NDP is the incumbent.

The Ontario PC Party has not won the riding since its creation in 1999. Liberal Joseph Cordiano represented the riding from 1999 to 2003 and Laura Albanese, also a Liberal, held the riding from 2007 to 2018.

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Meanwhile, Toronto city councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam announced she would resign her council seat at the beginning of April and will contest the Toronto-Centre riding for the Ontario NDP.

Outgoing NDP MPP Suze Morrison, who currently represents Toronto-Centre, announced that she wouldn’t be seeking reelection in order to take care of her health. Morrison won the seat from a Liberal incumbent by more than 10,000 votes in 2018.

Wong-Tam will run against David Morris for the Ontario Liberals and Jessica Goddard for the PCs.

“Some go for it because they’re politically ambitious — this is a higher level of government, with a lot bigger budgest and bigger policy issues,” Wiseman said.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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