Rossi to seek provincial Tory nomination in Toronto

Former Toronto mayoralty candidate Rocco Rossi will seek the nomination for the Ontario PC Party in the riding of Eglinton-Lawrence.

Former Toronto mayoralty candidate Rocco Rossi will seek the nomination for the Ontario Progressive Conservatives in the riding of Eglinton-Lawrence, party leader Tim Hudak announced Tuesday.

Rossi, who last fall lost in his bid to become Toronto's mayor, made the announcement along with Hudak in front of the Ontario legislature.

"I believe we have a government that's tired, that's run out of ideas," said Rossi on Tuesday. "Well that's not gonna get it done when we're faced with skyrocketing hydro bills, higher taxes and job losses. Ontario needs and wants change."

Assuming Rossi wins the nomination, he will likely face off against Liberal MPP Mike Colle in the north Toronto riding.

"With the amount of work that needs to be done to turn this province around, we need Toronto to stand tall," said Hudak. "Rocco has a rich and deep knowledge of the city, its challenges and ideas on how to solve them."

Rossi, 47, is a former national director of the Liberal Party of Canada. He was one of the few members of Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff's inner circle left standing after a shakeup in the fall of 2009 that was designed to reverse the party's sharp decline in recent opinion polls.

Rossi had been credited with turning around the federal Liberals' dismal fundraising record prior to his arrival. In the first half of 2009, the party raised more money than it did in all of the previous year.

He quit in December to take a run at Toronto's mayoralty. A lack of support forced Rossi to withdraw from last fall mayor's race two weeks before the Oct. 25 vote, which was won by Rob Ford.

Rossi's decision to join the provincial Tories could anger many Liberals. With an Ontario provincial election set for Oct. 6, Rossi had been courted by provincial parties as well as jobs in the private sector.

NDP MPP Peter Kormos watched Tuesday's news conference and said voters are tired of seeing politicians switch parties.

"By and large people don't trust politicians who change their principles and change their positions as readily as they change their socks or underwear," said Kormos.

Liberal cabinet minister Kathleen Wynne said Rossi's decision shows he has lost his way, politically.

"Mr. Rossi doesn't really know what he stands for, which from my perspective is consistent with hitching his wagon to Tim Hudak, who also doesn't have a plan," she said.