The quiet candidate giving rivals a run for their money
And Crawford cashes out
ABOVE THE FOLD
She may have been last out of the gate, but the NDP’s THADSHA NAVANEETHAN is already a big name around Scarborough-Guildwood, where she’s battling it out against a PC heavyweight and the incumbent Liberals. We sat down with Navaneethan ahead of Thursday’s vote.
But first: On byelection eve, GARY CRAWFORD, who’s carrying the PC banner, is resigning his city council seat — to the tune of $120,000 in severance.
In his own words: “For the past 30 years, I have called Scarborough home, and for over 12 years, I have served our community on Toronto City Council. I am all-in to become our next MPP in Scarborough—Guildwood continue to get it done for Scarborough.”
I got my hands on the letter the City Clerk sent to Mayor OLIVIA CHOW and councillors Monday morning, informing them that Crawford’s resignation would take place end of day July 26 — the day before the provincial byelection.
Them’s the rules: Had Crawford resigned after winning Thursday’s vote, he would not have been entitled to the hefty exit package. Another theory: A source close to Crawford tells me that even if he lost the byelection, the former budget chief under then-mayor JOHN TORY wasn’t keen on sticking around.
“He’s checked out of it. Do you think he wants to work under Olivia Chow? Do you think Chow would make him budget chief?” they said. Unlikely.
Cue attacks: Oppo critics pounced, saying the eleventh-hour move shows Crawford’s just in it for the severance and “getting himself a sizable taxpayer-funded cheque.”
“Crawford and his record at City Hall show that he’s not willing to stand up for Scarborough, and just like Ford and his other insiders, is only in it for himself.”
But it’s not unusual. Previous councillors-turned-MPP-candidates have resigned in time to take their severance. That includes NDPer KRISTYN WONG-TAM and PC MICHAEL FORD, ditto SHELLEY CARROLL, who stepped down while running for the Liberals in 2018.
More shade: ANDREA HAZELL, the Grit candidate hoping to keep Guildwood red, made a low-key jab in a statement, wishing Crawford “all the best” and saying she looks forward to “seeing what he does next in his retirement.” Presumably not becoming MPP, per Hazell.
More speculation: That means Scarborough is going back to the polls — and if advance turnout is any indication, those voters may be feeling some fatigue. Before Thursday’s byelection to replace MITZIE HUNTER, the east Toronto neighbourhood turned out for Chow in the mayoral byelection. Scarborough Southwest will now have to pick their replacement for Crawford, whose seat will be declared vacant at the next council meeting (our sources expect a vote sometime in the fall).
And possible candidates: Hunter’s name has been floating around — and she didn’t rule out a comeback when I asked her in our exit interview. Another name that’s gaining steam and seems more likely is ex-mayoral candidate ANTHONY FUREY — who’s putting on a fundraiser in Scarborough tonight featuring Treasury Board President PRABMEET SARKARIA.