Rossi vows push for voter recall in Toronto

Toronto mayoral candidate Rocco Rossi says voters should be able to kick the city's mayor or councillors out of office mid-term if they feel they are not performing well enough.

Liberal strategist Kinsella joins Rossi team

Toronto mayoral candidate Rocco Rossi says voters should be able to kick the city's mayor or councillors out of office mid-term if they feel they are not performing well enough.

Speaking Monday at a news conference in downtown Toronto, Rossi said that if elected, he will push for the practice of voter recall, which he said will make politicians more responsive to voters.

"With voter recall, Toronto voters will hold the keys to city hall, not just every four years, but every single day of the year," Rossi said.

British Columbia is the only the place in Canada where recall legislation has been enacted. In B.C., 40 per cent of registered voters for the jurisdiction in question have to sign a recall petition before a vote can be held.

Voters in B.C. have not been able to remove any politicians from office as a direct result of recall legislation, although Liberal MLA Paul Reitsma resigned in 1998 before a recall petition against him collected enough signatures to proceed to a vote.

Recall legislation is also in place in a number of U.S. states, including California.

Rossi wouldn't commit to a specific model for recall legislation. But he promised to present a legislative model for the provincial government's approval within six months of being elected.

In the meantime, Rossi said, he would consult with Torontonians over what would be an appropriate voter threshold for initiating the recall process.

"They will balance between making it too low, which may paralyze government, versus too high, thus protecting politicians," he said.

"We will find the classic Toronto compromise, right down the middle."

Meanwhile, well-connected Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella announced Monday on his blog that he would volunteer for Rossi's campaign. In his post, he called Rossi a "good man" who's "fiscally conservative and socially progressive.

"Rob Ford is no good on the social issues; George Smitherman is not top-of-mind when it comes to fiscal discipline."

Rossi, the former federal Liberal party director, is considered one of the five front-runners in the race to replace Mayor David Miller, who is not running again. But Rossi has not been able to establish himself as one of the top picks for voters so far ahead of the Oct. 25 municipal election.

A recent Ipsos Reid poll suggested he had the support of only seven per cent of decided voters in Toronto, well behind Rob Ford and George Smitherman.