Former Liberal and independent MP John Nunziata, who is running to become Toronto’s next mayor, faces four socially liberal opponents. While most analysts say former Toronto mayor Barbara Hall will win handily, political strategists The Interim talked to say that Nunziata is the only candidate who can beat her.

Hall is a socialist who has openly endorsed the gay agenda, including same-sex “marriage.” She is known to have attended a birthday party for abortionist Henry Morgentaler. Unfortunately, according to most polls throughout the summer, she had a solid 20-point lead over her opponents. On top of the list of those opponents, however, is Nunziata.

Nunziata began his political career as an alderman in the City of York. In 1984, he was elected MP, serving as a Liberal in both opposition and in government until 1996, when he voted against his own government over a broken GST promise. He left the caucus and served as an independent. He was rewarded for his integrity and won re-election in 1997.

In 2000, he considered a challenge to then-Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman, but decided against it. Later that year, he lost in his bid for re-election. In 2001, he joined Mandrake, a leading Toronto-based consulting firm, where he launched the firm’s successful new business, Nex Career Management.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Interim, Nunziata said that he is running for mayor because he wants to make Toronto liveable for individuals and families, to restore the sense of community it once had and to make the community safe. He said that his unique experience at the city and federal levels, in government and in opposition, is good preparation for a job that requires independent thinking, leadership and teamwork.

He said that his experience at other levels of government will enable him to work effectively with the provincial and federal governments, to ensure Toronto has the tools and resources to accomplish what it could if the city’s full potential was unleashed and if it was supported. He described how Toronto gives $7.9 billion more to the federal government than it gets back.

“I don’t begrudge Toronto helping out Atlantic Canadians and beef farmers in the West, but we must solve our own social problems to ensure that Toronto remains strong so that the city can continue to help the rest of the country;” he said. He added that Toronto is vitally important to the overall health of Canada and Ontario, and it was time the country and province recognized that fact and gave the city a break.

“It is critical to work together, to work with all levels of government,” he said.

As a man of integrity, corruption at the municipal level is an important issue. He has demonstrated that he keeps his promises and is willing to pay a political price to keep his word and stick to his principles. He said while there is probably little criminal corruption at city hall, the “system is corrupt” because there “is no integrity in the system.” He said he would work to decrease the influence of business and union lobbyists and to shed a light on backroom deals.

“Transparency and accountability will be hallmarks in my administration,” he said, adding that he will lead by example. He said a log of all gifts beyond, say, $25 would be kept and be instantly available to the public on the internet. Meals with lobbyists, meanwhile, would have to be registered.

Nunziata has led by example before, most famously in his dissent from the Chretien government over the GST. He said he has no regrets about that incident “because my parents always told me, ‘Do what is right.'” He said that as mayor, he would surround himself “with people of integrity.” If its a matter of “doing what’s right versus being politically correct, I’ll do what’s right,” he said.

Nunziata has not been politically correct in his public life. He has opposed abortion and the radical gay agenda as an MP and indicated that such issues still move him. He was the only major candidate not to pander to the homosexual community during Toronto’s Pride Parade in June and the only candidate not to endorse same-sex “marriage.” “I believe in the traditional definition of marriage of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. And I’m the only candidate to say that.”

Yet, he has met with, and is on cordial terms with, members of the homosexual community. “I’m going to be mayor of all Torontonians,” he said, while noting that some elements of the Pride Parade disgust him, especially the nudity and mock sex acts. He said he would urge organizers to try to put a lid on these activities. “I’m bothered as a parent that these things are going on. I believe in family values.”

He has a comprehensive plan to address homelessness and recognizes that it is not an issue of people not being able to afford housing. “There’s something much deeper than that.” He said that in many cases, it is mental illness or some other social problem that is the cause of an individual’s situation. He pointed to the Toronto Star highlighting an eight-month-pregnant teen living on the streets as “the paper’s poster girl for homelessness this year.” That teen obviously has some problem, because “she is not making the best decision for her and her unborn baby,” he said.

Nunziata said he will work to find ways to help those who can’t help themselves. “It will be unlawful to sleep on the streets,” he said, adding there is “nothing compassionate about allowing a person to stay outside in -25C weather in the middle of winter.” He added, “They are not homeless, they are ill.” He also promised more treatment programs for addicts who live in shelters.

He said he has a strong law-and-order plank so that “our daughters, our mothers and our grandmothers can walk down the streets and feel safe.” He said that he would direct police to attend to small problems in the community before they develop into larger problems. And

he promised to “run gangs and guns out of town.”

He is the only candidate promising not to raise taxes, saying Toronto’s budget problems are not the result of too-little revenue, but rather too much spending. He said he would eradicate waste and duplication and is the only candidate who will undertake a line-by-line approach to the budget to determine what the city truly needs to do and examine how it does it.

“There will be a complete program review to see what level of services should be delivered, what we should be doing and what we can afford to do.” He said he would decrease the size of the civil service through attrition and find savings through out-sourcing. He will also lead by example and vows to cut the mayor’s budget by 20 per cent.

Other major mayoral candidates include city councillor David Miller, former city councillor Tom Jakobek and former CEO of Rogers Cable, and one-time Brian Mulroney chief-of-staff, John Tory. All three have endorsed same-sex “marriage” and none have even attempted to reach out to social conservatives, people of faith or those concerned with traditional values. Nunziata, on the other hand, has.

In the middle of his campaign, he attended the 25th anniversary party of Campaign Life in early September. The crowd cheered him as he re-iterated his pro-life, pro-family, pro-traditional values and beliefs. When a picture of him was shown during a video, the crowd went wild again.

He said that he is running closer to Hall than the polls indicate, but needs help. He said that people interested in volunteering for, learning more about or contributing to his campaign can contact his office at the John Nunziata Mayoralty Campaign, 3080 Yonge St., Suite 2060, Toronto, Ont. Telephone (416) 868-3564.

He is urging his supporters not to be disheartened by the polls. He said that come election day, in the only poll that matters, turnout will be vital. He hopes the communities that have supported him in the past come out to support him again.

“I share their values and their vision. Together, we will make a better Toronto,” he said.