Scarborough subway the key issue in byelection

A subway for Scarborough has become a key issue in the Scarborough-Guildwood byelection, three days before the polls open.

Scarborough byelection

10 years ago
Duration 2:07
A look at the issues in Scarborough.

With three days left before voters go the polls in the Scarborough-Guildwood byelection, the theme of the riding's race has become subways, subways, subways.

The pressure has been growing to build a subway extension in Scarborough well ahead of the coming byelection on Aug. 1. But the CBC's Genevieve Tomney reports that it has now become a key ballot-box issue as well. 

The Liberals, previously opposed to a subway for Scarborough, have recently changed their minds, which is good timing for the party's candidate, Mitzie Hunter. She has campaigned heavily on the issue, even having the words "Subway champion" on her signs.

Hunter was part of a city council-appointed panel that previously recommended that Toronto build an LRT rather than a subway along the Sheppard Avenue corridor.

Hunter told Metro Morning host Matt Galloway that she sees no contradiction between the two stances.

"I’m listening to voters at the door each and every day … I know that Scarborough needs a subway," she said. 

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has denied that the change of heart is politically motivated, but Progressive Conservative candidate and subway supporter Ken Kirupa is crying foul.

"They have done this before. They are trying to buy the ward from the people," he said.

Kirupa said the Liberal announcement was too well timed with the byelection to be trustworthy.

The Progressive Conservative candidate said he supports subways, and that the party will be able to fund them without introducing new fees or taxes. He said the money will be there once the Liberals aren't wasting it. 

Meanwhile, NDP candidate and former TTC chair Adam Giambrone has avoided supporting either option, only saying that he will fight for a timely solution. He also declined a request from Metro Morning to take part in the discussion with Hunter and Kirupa.

The byelection taking place in Scarborough-Guildwood is one of five taking place in Ontario on Aug. 1, all in ridings that are now up for grabs due to the departure of Liberal MPPs in recent months.