Julian Fantino, for years Ontario’s best known and highest-ranking cop, will be the Conservative candidate in the Vaughan federal by-election when it’s called by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Toronto Star has learned.Good on the Conservatives. Pick the most controversial and divisive person around, and say you'll give him a cabinet position. We can really see the Tory masterminds there!
A senior government source said “he’s going for it, no doubt” — even as the Prime Minister’s office tried to douse expectations that the former Ontario Provincial Police commissioner was making the leap to federal politics.
“I was told it was a done deal,” another senior Conservative said.
Fantino would be expected to ultimately land in cabinet if the Conservatives are re-elected.
Getting the retired and often controversial hard-nosed, law and order former Toronto police chief is considered a coup for the federal Conservatives, who have been courting him for some time.
However, the truth is that Fantino, at least from what I've heard, is a fairly popular person in his hometown out in Woodbridge, which has a very large Italian-Canadian community, key to winning this riding. Given that the Liberals are still a very major force in the community (even in 2008 we nearly attained 50% of the vote), Fantino's run doesn't guarantee a Conservative win, though it does give them a chance, especially if the Liberals can't field a good candidate.
However, the latter may not be a problem. Two fairly respectable candidates with electoral and political experience for the Liberals have at least expressed interest, according to the Liberal Scarf. Tony Genco, who's run provincially in the riding in 1999, and is a recent CEO and President of Downsview Park, has apparently given a lot of interest to the prospect, while Steven Del Luca, a former Greg Sorbara assistant and a director of the Vaughan Health Care Foundation, is apparently rumoured to be interested. These two candidates have Liberal foundations and ties to the community (and it's political establishment), so I'm happy to say that, if both are going to go for the nomination, they'll both be excellent candidates.
This is a Liberal-Conservative fight, nothing more, nothing less, so while the NDP and Greens have nominated people (Kevin Bordian and Claudia Rodriguez-Larrain, respectively), they won't play a major role, and I doubt will even play much of a spoiler vote.
So, Liberals, once the by-election is called, let's head on out to Vaughan and ensure that the Liberals retain this riding and keep Julian Fantino and the Conservatives out!