Despite the roller-coaster ride of turmoil facing the provincial Tories in recent days, Patricia Kalligosfyris couldn’t be prouder to be a part of the party.
The high school business teacher from York Region is currently seeking the nomination as Progressive Conservative candidate for Toronto-Danforth, an area her Greek family first settled in when coming to Canada.
She is especially proud to be a young woman making strides in a party that hasn’t always been known for its female presence.
“I have always felt part of the team and to see more women as a part of the PC party and becoming candidates is amazing. I think the PC party stands for both males and females,” she said. “I think in this election we’re going to see some amazing females come forward and hopefully win and become MPPs.”
If selected by party members, she would represent the PC party in the next provincial election scheduled to take place in June 2018.
The Toronto-Danforth riding is currently represented by Peter Tabuns of the NDP.
Kalligosfyris held a meet-and-greet event Sunday at Sophie’s Sports Bar on Cosburn Avenue as a way of connecting with community members. She also delivered a brief speech.
“There are a lot of things within the Toronto-Danforth I want to focus on because this would be my riding,” she said in an interview. “They have issues with their downtown line; they want a relief line. It’s really busy during rush hour, so that’s something I want to really push for them.”
In addition to improving transit along line 2, Kalligosfyris says she wants to focus on helping small businesses in the riding.
Stopping the construction of bike lanes along Danforth Avenue and slowing down the increase of the minimum wage are issues touched upon in her speech.
Her passion for supporting small businesses is important to Peter Viris, a finance professional who attended the meet-and-greet.
“I like the fact that she supports small businesses. Small businesses are key, especially now with Canada,” Viris said. “We’re having a challenge in manufacturing, we’re having a challenge with corporations leaving for one reason or another. Small business is our future.”
Kalligosfyris made a good impression on attendee David Lasker.
“She spoke briefly at an event on Monday and I liked what she was saying,” he said.
While the event focused on the issues important to Kalligofyris’ platform and her pride in representing a riding close to her heart, the scandal of Patrick Brown’s sexual misconduct allegations and entry into the leadership race hung in the air.
When asked about Brown running for the leadership again, Kalligofyris was honest about her reservations.
“There would have been many opportunities in the future for him to come forward, to be a leader. Maybe when these allegations fully get resolved and his name is fully cleared, then maybe he could run again,” she said.
Those who came out to the event also voiced their concerns about Brown entering the leadership race in an effort to regain his former position.
“Him coming back isn’t what’s best for the party because what it’s doing is creating a big distraction,” attendee Viris said.
Kalligofyris would not specify if she supported anyone in the current leadership race, but said this regarding a possible Brown victory.
“At the end of the day I’m running for Toronto-Danforth,” she said, “and if PC members in Ontario vote for Patrick Brown, I can’t say anything against that.”
The nomination vote will take place Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. at the East York Community Centre.