POLITICS

Mayor John Tory Talks Transit With NDP

07/23/2015 01:20 EDT | Updated 07/23/2016 05:59 EDT
Toronto Mayor John Tory says he's satisfied that if the NDP form the next federal government, it will provide funding for the SmartTrack regional transit program, among other priorities.

Tory met with members of the federal NDP's Toronto caucus Thursday morning at City Hall to discuss transit and other issues ahead of the fall election, scheduled for October.

Afterward, Tory told reporters that as mayor, his job is to ensure that Toronto's priorities are on each federal party's radar as they prepare to appeal to voters.

The NDP MPs pledged "sufficiently flexible" transit funding during Thursday's meeting that could be applied to SmartTrack or another program that might need it, Tory said.

"The party recognizes that if Toronto's not moving, and not moving can be taken in a number of different respects, economically, transportation-wise and so on, this is not good for Canada," Tory said.

Last month, Prime Minister Stephen Harper pledged $2.5 billion to SmartTrack. Tory said he will seek some kind of commitment to SmartTrack from the federal Liberals.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair has said publicly that Toronto is the most important city in Canada, Tory noted.

"I just think it's my job to try to talk with these people so that they understand the issues in Toronto and that their platform takes account of these issues."

NDP MP Andrew Cash (Davenport), chair of the NDP's Toronto caucus, said his party made clear commitments to transit and other infrastructure funding during the meeting.

"Toronto is the biggest city in the country, has biggest share of GDP, it is the engine of the Canadian economy, it is the heart and soul of Canadian culture," Cash told reporters.

"And this city needs a federal partner that is going to be dependable, active and engaged in the projects that this city needs to build in order to get this city moving, in order to bring more prosperity to this city."

Thursday's meeting came in the midst of an Ontario push by Mulcair, who has rallies, local media interviews, photo-ops and other events scheduled over an eight-day tour that kicked off on Monday.

Mulcair's tour is designed to boost his public image and the NDP's message across vote-rich Ontario ahead of the October election. Recent polls have put the Conservatives, Liberals and the NDP in a tight three-way race.

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