THE BLOG

Toronto Centre Liberals Should Look At Todd Ross Once More

08/23/2013 05:00 EDT | Updated 10/23/2013 05:12 EDT

Earlier today I attended the opening of the Todd Ross campaign office in the heart of downtown Toronto. Inside the rented office that used to be a pawn shop I was touched with what I saw. The ever busy community leader Ross hardly had the well-connected supporters he needs to win a nomination.

The event had many diverse volunteers and supporters yet absent were the likes of George Smitherman nor Glen Murray or the likes - as most of the heavy heating Liberals have endorsed the New York based Chrystial Freeland as their chosen candidate. It seems the veteran young Liberal campaign manager, Pierre Cyr, summed up the mood of many Liberals in Toronto Center earlier today. "This nomination race is about choosing a candidate who can win (Chrystia Freeland) this by-election, and once elected, rattle the walls of Parliament to make sure our issues resonate".

Haven't these people learned from the experience of Michael Ignatieff from not too long ago? It seems the party is intent on nominating a New York imported candidate with zero community connection with the blind intention to win a race rather than giving Ross a chance to run for the party. Todd Ross deserves much better.

In Canada there is no riding that captures the imagination of Canada and Canadians than the riding of Toronto Centre. This riding has had a slew of leaders (Conservatives and Liberals) represented both in Ottawa and here in Toronto eloquently. From Bob Rae, David MacDonald to Bill Graham - these riding has always produced great leaders.

The riding is even home to passionate discussions on a slew of issues - HIV / AIDS, housing, human rights and immigration. It is a riding that is diverse - from the super rich Rosedale neighborhoods to the Gay village on Wellesley to the immigrant areas of Sherbourne - the riding has always produced its share of equally eloquent activists taking these important issues forward.

While most of us know the larger-than-life personalities that have represented the riding via political office - citizens such as Todd Ross are the real positive stalwart of its activities. I was excited when he announced his long awaited intention to run for office and I assumed the Liberals would accommodate his wish. Even as a non-Liberal - I welcome his entry to the political arena as I know that Canada benefits most when smart and eloquent people like him get involved in politics.

I have known Ross for a number of years via my association with an HIV / AIDS agency in the riding. He has always possessed rare talent, signature eloquence and concerns for a slew of important community issues. Why so much reluctance to support a great community leader?

The expected anointment of Chrystial Freeland as a candidate is making the party become more of an elitist institution rather than a party that truly believes in true democracy.