Liberal Gordon vies for Toronto-Danforth

After confusion over the date and a flurry of party nominations, the byelection race in Toronto-Danforth has cleared up.

It’s widely expected that the real contest leading up to this month’s vote will be between law professor Craig Scott, whom the NDP nominated early in the new year, and the man the Liberals selected as their candidate five weeks later: communications executive Grant Gordon.

On Feb. 9, the Liberals met at Riverdale Collegiate Institute to choose Gordon as their contender to replace Jack Layton, following the death of the MP and NDP leader last August.

After waiting until almost the last legal moment to announce the date for the byelection to replace Layton, the prime minister’s office said on Feb. 5 that the vote would take place on March 12. The following day — citing an “administrative error” — that was revised to March 19.

At the Liberals’ nomination meeting three days after the election was set, Gordon, president and creative director of Key Gordon Communications Inc., was chosen over the only other Liberal in the running, Trifon Haitas. The Liberals’ interim leader, Bob Rae, visited Riverdale Collegiate for the nomination vote, along with deputy leader Ralph Goodale. Dennis Mills, who represented Toronto-Danforth on behalf of the Liberals for 16 years before Layton, also attended, and placed Gordon’s name in nomination.

Gordon, a resident of the riding, explained to voters that he values the community’s diversity.

“I want my children to grow up in the most diverse community possible,” Gordon said prior to being elected. “Toronto-Danforth is extraordinarily diverse — culturally, socially and economically. I won’t stop until every person in this riding remembers that this country was built on the Liberal values of fairness and equality.”

The New Democrats, Gordon said, “seem to speak out of both sides of their mouth. I have some hard questions for the Rhodes Scholar (Scott) who’s running for the NDP.”

Meanwhile, the Conservatives — who traditionally do poorly in Toronto-Danforth — nominated communications consultant Andrew Keyes at a closed meeting on Jan. 27.

Besides him, and Green party candidate Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu, there are also two independent candidates so far: Leslie Bory and Bahman Yazdanfar.