Ex-mayoral candidate and ex-Liberal Rocco Rossi says he jumped ship to the Progressive Conservative party because his goals weren’t in line with the Liberal government.
Rossi, a former national director of the Liberal Party, became the provincial Progressive Conservative candidate of record this week for the Toronto riding of Eglinton-Lawrence.
“Last year was the most intensive political year of my life,” Rossi said. “It was a time when I had to develop my own platform … and what was interesting was that more Conservatives than Liberals were attracted to (my) message.”
Rossi stressed the importance of having a government that is responsible with money.
“The issues I have in terms of fiscal responsibility and value for money … align better with (Ontario’s Conservative leader) Tim Hudak than the Liberals,” he said. “I want to ensure that we build a proper plan to move Ontario out of the ‘have not’ column and back to being the hub of Canadian economy.”
Rossi said it’s also important to have a government that assists the average family.
“I want to make sure that people feel that their tax dollars are working as hard as possible (and) to get them to a stage where they’re better able to make ends meet,” Rossi said.
Media consultant Allan Bonner has witnessed a few political candidates change parties. He says this change could be difficult for Rossi, but there are a few factors working in his favour.
“Rossi … hasn’t been in elected office yet and that’s what he has working for him,” Bonner said. “If (John) Tory supports him he will get away with it but he has to have that support.”
Another important group that has to believe in Rossi’s goals, Bonner says, is the voters.
“If the Conservative workers support other candidates than they may do better than Rossi,” he said. “He has to have the (support) of the community.”
Liberal MPP Mike Colle has been elected in Eglinton-Lawrence since 1995.
Though Rossi knows he has his work cut out for him, he says the people in the Eglinton-Lawrence riding are ready for something new.
“The early indications from people in this riding (are that) they’re looking for a much needed change at the provincial level,” Rossi said. “(But) this is going to be a tough battle; the Liberals have dominated the political scene in Toronto provincially and federally.”