Tony Van Bynen is calling his sixth election campaign the most important one yet.
The former three-term mayor of Newmarket and now officially nominated federal Liberal candidate for the riding of Newmarket-Aurora took aim not only at federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, but also Progressive Conservative Premier Doug Ford — and even former PC premier Mike Harris — at last night’s nomination meeting and unofficial launch of his campaign.
“I happen to believe that this will be the most important election of our time," he said of the Oct. 21 election. "This election is a real stamp of what Canadians think their future should be and how we should go about achieving that.”
“I am genuinely concerned about the direction our country would take if an Andrew Scheer Conservative government is allowed to go unchecked,” he said to boisterous applause from the audience of area Liberals who filled the room at the Newmarket Legion. “You need only look at the last year of chaos under Doug Ford in Ontario to know what will happen. And we cannot allow the Conservatives to undermine and destroy the progress we have made."
He told supporters, who included former Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne cabinet minister and federal leadership contender Steven Del Duca and Ontario Liberal Party president Brian Johns, that Scheer will promise not to cut health care and social services, as did Doug Ford, “and we all know how that turned out”.
“I’m also concerned about the devastating cuts to health care, social programs, education, environmental protection and those that we’ve already seen. And we shouldn’t kid ourselves, there will be more to come if Andrew Scheer wins and he and Doug Ford continue to download their budgets onto our local municipalities, just like Mike Harris did 24 years ago.”
Newmarket-Aurora MP Kyle Peterson, who said he has “mixed emotions” about his decision not to run for re-election in October, took to the podium to say, “When Tony Van Bynen indicated to me he was interested in running, it made me feel much better about my decision, because like me, and all of us, Tony cares about this community.”
Both Peterson and Van Bynen lauded the Liberal record of the last four years in “strengthening the middle class” with the creation of a million jobs, bringing in the non-taxable Canada Child Tax Benefit, enhancing the Canada Pension Plan, attaining the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years, lowering small business tax rates, building more affordable housing with a national housing strategy, and fighting climate change by "putting a price on pollution" with a carbon tax.
“Justin Trudeau stood up to Donald Trump and he has and will continue to stand up to that bully Doug Ford,” Van Bynen added.
He criticized the Ford government’s commitment to spend $30 million to legally fight the Trudeau government's carbon tax, which was ruled constitutionally sound and legitimate in its role in fighting climate change by the country’s top court last month.
“So now we have two levels of government spending tax dollars to fight each other. But there’s only one taxpayer, and this, in my opinion, is an absolute waste of public money — your money.
“Ask yourself how many good community programs were cut to fund this dispute,” Van Bynen said.
He added the Conservatives newly released environmental plan has been soundly criticized as ineffective.
Even though he is taking the leap into partisan politics after 20 years as a municipal politician, Van Bynen — who describes himself as always being fiscally conservative and socially progressive — said, “I am still community-focused and willing to work with anyone with a proposal that is sensible and that benefits our community. The point is, like Ford, Andrew Scheer’s proposals don’t make sense and they won’t benefit our community.”
The longtime Newmarket resident, who was the only candidate to seek the nomination, was nominated by former Liberal MPP Charles Beer and seconded by Ward 7 Councillor Christina Bisanz.
Van Bynen, who chose not to run for re-election in last October’s municipal election, served as Newmarket’s mayor, as well as regional councillor and town councillor for more than 20 years. Previously, he worked in the financial services sector for more than 30 years.
Other nominated candidates vying to represent Newmarket-Aurora residents in Ottawa are Conservative candidate Lois Brown, NDP candidate Yvonne Kelly and Green Party candidate Walter Bauer.
The 2019 federal election takes place Monday, Oct. 21.