Jim Karygiannis: 'I need to be closer to home'
An MP since 1988, longtime Liberal leaves federal politics to seek council seat
Jim Karygiannis says his more than 25 years as an MP will be an asset should his bid for a city council seat become successful.
"Nobody else is in a better position to lobby to get money for the city because I've got friends on both sides," said Karygiannis on CBC Radio's Metro Morning on Wednesday, one day after announcing he would step down as Liberal MP for Scarborough-Agincourt, a riding he's represented since 1988.
Karygiannis, 58, will seek a city council seat in the same Scarborough ward he's represented federally since 1988. Coun. Mike Del Grande, who currently represents the ward, has said he won't run again in the Oct. 27 municipal election.
Karygiannis told host Matt Galloway he's making the move to be closer to his family — in particular his 84-year-old mother — after more than two decades working in Ottawa.
"I want to pass by her house once a day and say 'Hi mom, how are you?' he said. "I want to continue serving and that's why I'm taking a slower step."
Karygiannis admits federal politics is more "toxic" than it was when he was first elected as MP but said he has "no problem" with current Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.
The longtime Liberal would not comment when asked for his assessment of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who is seeking re-election after a year of scandal surrounding his office.
"I'm not going to comment," he said, while vowing to "shake the tree a bit" at city hall.
Karygiannis said transit expansion in Scarborough and the role of Scarborough Grace Hospital are issues he's keen to tackle should his bid for a council seat be successful.