by Rocco Rossi, National Post
I was a Liberal.
I have made no secret of the fact that I want to serve the public. I want to help. I believe in public service and I want to help make Toronto — and Ontario–a better place.
Sadly, politics today, and more specifically politicians, have fallen into such disrepute that the last thing the average voter might say about them is that they exist to serve the public. But the fact is, “serving” is their job, or at least should be, and that has always been my reason for wanting to be in politics. To serve.
Now I am not.
When I ran for mayor of Toronto, I championed ideas in an aggressive, fair and fiscally responsible plan. Do better with taxpayer dollars — live within our means–and make government work for you, not you working for government.
I don’t like what I see in Ontario right now. Families are stretched to the limit. We have skyrocketing hydro bills, higher taxes, job losses and Ontario is considered a “have-not” province. This should not be the case.
Ontario needs change. Dalton McGuinty has lost his way. His party has lost its way.
We need a change in leadership as well as a change in policies.
I know that Tim Hudak and the Ontario PC party are the best choice to bring the change that’s needed to help Ontario families.
I feel at home with the principles that are the foundation of the Ontario PC party. Their beliefs are rooted in principles that I hold dear: Fiscal responsibility. Practical solutions. Respect for the challenges facing Ontario families. This is why I became a member of the Ontario PC Party and why I am seeking the nomination in the heart of Toronto, the city I love, in the wonderful riding of Eglinton-Lawrence.
Deciding to leave a political party that you’ve been part of for decades and joining another is a very difficult thing to do. One doesn’t make these decisions lightly or easily. The hard part was not to recognize that my beliefs had come to have more in common with the Progressive Conservatives — anyone who followed my mayoral campaign can attest to that — but having the courage to face the loss of some friendships and associations that have meant a great deal to me.
During my mayoral campaign, particularly as it came to an end, with some notable and much-appreciated exceptions, more and more of the Liberals among my active supporters fell away, some with extreme and very public prejudice, and no pretense was ever made that my policies had anything to do with it. It was about “politics,” not policies; about the party, not the people. It was a disheartening, and yes, profoundly disillusioning experience for me and those who stuck with me.
And then, at the end, I looked around my campaign table and realized that not one of my PC supporters had left me, nor would they until I released them by formally withdrawing from the race. They supported my ideas, my principles and my integrity with a staunch integrity of their own. Now it is my turn to support them, and continue to follow my drive towards public service with a party and leader, Tim Hudak, who I have more in common with than I ever realized possible.
I take nothing for granted. I know I will have to prove myself. I am up to the challenge. And I hope to earn your trust through hard work, determination and — most importantly –by listening to taxpayers and working hard for all of you.
I was a Liberal.
Now I am proudly … a Progressive Conservative.