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19 2011

Andrea Horwath’s Pitch for Transit

Syndicated from: Steve Paikin

    Ontario's NDP Leader braved the Toronto subway system yesterday morning.       Normally, during rush hour, the subway cars are jam packed. The notion of campaigning with a media hoard in tow would have been very tough. And probably annoying to commuters too.   But fortunately, Andrea Horwath managed to get on some sparcely populated cars with commuters who, typically, were uninterested in talking politics with a major party leader on their way to work. As Horwath told me, "I don't want to bother them. I know everyone just wants to get to work."   Still, Horwath managed to make some contact with some commuters, while trying to respect the wishes of others who just wanted to be left alone.         Horwath was riding the subways to draw attention to her letter to Toronto's Mayor, Rob Ford.   Her plea: rather than cut Toronto Transit Commission service to reduce the budget shortfall, why not await the results of the Ontario election?       Horwath says if she wins, she'll contribute half the operating budget of municipal transit systems province-wide. That's $400 million over four years. That's $220 million for Toronto.    In exchange, Horwath would want city councils to pledge to freeze fares for those four years.   Here's how Horwath unveiled her commitment at the Ossington subway station on the Bloor line:         Horwath made her announcement on the boundary between two ridings the NDP care a lot about.    Rosario Marchese is trying to win Trinity-Spadina for the NDP for the sixth time.     On one side of the street, Trinity-Spadina, where Rosario Marchese has held the seat since 1990, but finds himself in a tough fight with the Liberals' Sarah Thomson, who ran for mayor of Toronto last year.   On the other side of the street, Davenport riding, held by the Liberals' Tony Ruprecht since 1981, but with his retirement, it's now open and New Democrats think they can steal this from the Grits.      Jonah Schein hopes to steal Davenport from the Liberals.     In fact, Marchese told me "it's 101% guaranteed we will win it."     The beautiful thing about all these kinds of predictions is that we'll  only have to wait 17 days to find out just how accurate they are.          

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