DeMontis withdraws from federal election

Mark DeMontis has withdrawn his candidacy in the upcoming federal election. He said on Twitter the he has “decided to focus on [his] role with the Government of Ontario”.

DeMontis challenged incumbent Laura Albanese and winner Faisal Hassan in the Ontario election. He placed second with nearly a third of the vote, and, in my opinion, he would have been a very strong contender in the federal election. DeMontis has been a successful broadcaster, speaker, and has a gripping story of overcoming adversity—he lost most of his sight in early adulthood, but rollerbladed across the country to raise money for blind hockey players.

Demontis enters federal race

Mark DeMontis is the Conservative candidate for York South–Weston.

DeMontis previously ran as a Progressive Conservative in the provincial election, and he did reasonably well, getting 18.5% of the vote in a left-leaning riding.

DeMontis lost most of his sight in high-school. He had to give up his dreams of playing professional hockey, but his career didn’t slow. He roller-bladed across the country  raising money for blind hockey, and he became a television commentator and motivational coach.

DeMontis is the third entrant in what is sure to be a good race. Yafet Tewelde is running for the NDPAhmed Hussen, the Minister of Immigration, will likely be seeking reëlection, and Yafet Tewelde, among others are seeking the NDP nomination.

Electioneering hotting up

It may be subzero outside, but the electioneering in York South–Weston is already hotting up a bit.

Yafet Tewelde released a campaign video this week. Tewelde is seeking the nomination for the NDP.

Stephen Lepone, who received a drubbing as the Libertarian candidate in 2015, has announced his candidacy for the Conservatives–and he’s started a Twitter account.

Sullivan blasts Hussen

On the one-year anniversary of the 2015 federal election, former York South Weston MP spared no mercy for his successor, Liberal MP  Ahmed Hussen. In a Facebook post Sullivan laments that Hussen has failed to send out ‘a single piece of email out to those who used to be my constituents’.

He also has some kind words for his supporters who may yet be called upon in the next election.

Read the full posting below.

A year ago today, I was in the process of being fired from my job. I was swept out in a wave of adulation for Dubya Trudeau.
I loved my job, but if you can’t afford to lose, you shouldn’t be in politics.

I want to thank, once again all of those who tried to convince people to let me keep my job, and the man who first convinced me to try, Paul Ferreira.

It was a great job, one where every day you can help individuals, and at the same time have an impact on where the whole country is going. And I couldn’t have done it without Ornella, Paul, Faisal, Deb, Alex and a host of volunteers and interns.

The new guy has yet to send a single piece of mail out to those who used to be my constituents. No one knows where he or the Liberals stand on their many promises, most of which they have yet to even consider doing: Aboriginal Education, C-51 (Privacy), C-38 (Environment), Subsidies to Big Oil, Regugee deportations and their health care.

And we have learned where they really stand on arms sales to human rights abusers (they did it), Climate change targets (same as Harper), Pipelines and Natural Gas projects (in favour), putting Bovine Growth Hormones in our children’s milk (TPP in favour), and Improving and protecting our health care system (same as Harper).

But the adulation continues. Elections shouldn’t be won on who is the cutest, but…

Parliamentary Reform Meeting with Ahmed Hussen.

MP Ahmed Hussen (centre) and MP Mark Holland (right) discuss electoral reform with constituents.
MP Ahmed Hussen (centre) and MP Mark Holland (right) discuss electoral reform with constituents August 10, 2016.

Almost 30 residents attended yesterday’s consultation meeting at the 99 Milvan Drive office of York South-Weston MP Ahmed Hussen. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Democratic Institutions, MP Mark Holland presented the various alternatives to ‘first past the post‘ elections and then the floor was thrown open to residents’ comments.

One thing is clear from the meeting; electoral reform is coming. Currently a non-stacked parliamentary committee is studying the matter. Input from ridings around the country will help determine the best alternative to the current system.

Ahmed Hussen on his new priorities

Ahmed Hussen, our new MP, took a some time to speak with me about his new job and his priorities in the upcoming parliament.
I asked him what the most pressing need is, and he was clear:

Jobs, jobs, jobs… Jobs, affordable housing, transit, and pensions. We have promised to increase the [Guaranteed Income Supplement] by 10%, to open up the cost of living index for seniors to make it fairer. But there’s no doubt that the top priority is jobs.

First is cutting taxes for the middle class. The second way is the child tax benefit—all the folks who have children who make under $200,000. That’s going to put more money in people’s pockets. The third way to create jobs is all of these investments in infrastructure. Finally there’s a commitment to create youth jobs. That’s money we can fight for to create jobs for youth in York South—Weston.

We are [also] part of the city of Toronto. The $20 billion that the Liberal Party has promised, part of it will go the the city. My job is to make sure is to make sure that York South—Weston gets its fair share. That means working with the other representatives.

Hussen has drawn criticism for not living in the riding, so I asked him about it, and his answer surprised me.

I had a law office [in Weston, and] I have been involved in the Weston neighbourhood for a really long time. I used to play soccer in the field across from the Hickory Tree apartments. The other thing is, I would love to live in the riding. I love the community. [But] I have two kids, and I’m a relatively new lawyer. I’m not someone who is living in a rich neighbourhood who is coming into York South—Weston. I picked the least lucrative field in law. (He is in immigration and criminal law.) When people say “you don’t live in the riding, you think you’re too good for us”, that’s not the case. If I could buy a home, I would. I’m not the typical rich guy who was parachuted into the riding.

I have to say, although I did not endorse Hussen for the candidacy, having spoken with him at some length, I feel much more enthusiastic about his election. He seems genuine and energetic. 

In addition to appearing on this illustrious website, Hussen also made it to the CBC.

Thanks to Suri for the tip.