Pressure on Mendicino now to carry out promises in Eglinton-Lawrence

Starting with meeting community leaders to discuss local issues like traffic, transit

After supporting the campaign of Eglinton-Lawrence candidate Marco Mendicino, MPP Mike Colle looks forward to knowing the neighbourhood will have a empathetic ear on Parliament Hill again.

“It’s a great win for the people of Eglinton-Lawrence,” he says of his fellow Liberal’s victory. “They chose a local guy who lives here and understands the issues and is going to fight for them up in Ottawa.”

Colle’s sentiment is echoed by Eglinton-Lawrence resident Stuart McRae, who calls Mendicino “a man who cares about his people, who cares about North Toronto … who is absolutely genuine and sincere in what he does,” McRae says. “I have confidence that with Marco in Ottawa, we are going to be well-represented.”

A former federal attorney who famously prosecuted the “Toronto 18” terror group, Mendicino has also been cited in the media as a potential minister in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet, which is to be announced on Nov. 4.

However, experts such as University of Toronto political science professor Nelson Wiseman expect Mendicino to remain a backbencher, a consquence of both his first-time MP status and heavy competition for what Trudeau has promised will be a 25-person cabinet with an equal number of women and men.

“There aren’t going to be very many cabinet ministers, and you can only have so many from Toronto,” Wiseman says.

For his part, after a pair of hard-won victories against two high-profile opponents — the first against floor-crosser Eve Adams to represent the Liberals in his riding, the second against former Conservative finance minister Joe Oliver — Mendicino is already in the midst of connecting with his provincial and municipal counterparts, while preparing to deliver the “real change” his party promised.

“Mr. Trudeau emphasized throughout the campaign the importance of all levels of government working together in a cooperative fashion,” Mendicino says, while emphasizing his strong working relationships with Ward 15 Councillor Josh Colle, Ward 16 Councillor Christin Carmichael-Greb, and MPP Colle, who served as co-chair of his election campaign.

But he says his first priority is to get settled in the riding and open a constituency office to serve the needs of local residents.

He is also arranging meetings with Eglinton-Lawrence’s community leaders to discuss many of the concerns that he says residents brought to his attention during the election campaign.

“We know, for example, that people are very concerned about their commutes, that they’re concerned about traffic congestion, that they’re concerned about public transit,” he says, adding that the federal government is more than ready to address those concerns after promising to commit an additional $10 billion to infrastructure spending over the next 10 years.

TTC chair and Ward 15 city councillor Josh Colle says he’s excited by the commitments made by the federal Liberals, especially when it comes to public transit and social housing, and that he looks forward to collaborating with an MP who lives in the area, unlike Mendicino’s predecessor, Oliver.

“In a lot of work I did — and I’m out there a lot — we didn’t see the old MP around very much,” Colle says. “It’ll be nice to actually have a presence from the federal level in the community.”

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Posted: Oct 25 2015 2:49 pm
Filed in: NEWS