Critiquing Toronto Mayor David Miller’s handling of the summer’s Toronto city workers’ strike, the St Clair Ave streetcar debacle and Ontario’s eHealth scandal are some of the key issues Progressive Conservative (PC) candidate and out lesbian Sue-Ann Levy hopes to address in her bid to a claim a seat in the Sep 17 provincial by-election in the Toronto riding of St Paul’s.
Levy, a veteran city hall columnist for the Toronto Sun, filed nomination papers to run as a PC candidate in the midtown riding on Aug 14. The by-election will replace Ontario’s former cabinet minister-turned-bicycle affairs critic Michael Bryant, who left his seat in June after representing the riding for a decade.
Levy is up against Liberal Eric Hoskins, NDP candidate Julian Heller and Green candidate Chris Chopik.
“I have sat on the sidelines for the last 11 years writing critical pieces in a feisty, outspoken tone about city affairs,” says Levy. “This is the time to put my money where my mouth is.”
Levy is Jewish and a half-marathon runner. She lives with her wife near Avenue Rd and Eglinton Ave. She describes herself as an out and proud lesbian and an example of the “new face” of the Progressive Conservative Party. She says she is fiscally conservative but socially responsible. “I have a soft spot for the homeless,” she says.
The idea of funding private schools — including faith-based ones that teach moral proscriptions against homosexuality — doesn’t sit well with many gay people. But former PC leader John Tory ran in the 2007 Ontario general election with a promise to do just that. The PCs were soundly defeated by the Liberals in that election. Tory was defeated in the Don Valley West riding by Liberal incumbent candidate, and lesbian, Kathleen Wynne.
Even though Levy is a former education reporter, she declines to take a position on faith-based public education.
“Voters have spoken loud and clear [about the issue],” says Levy, who was an education reporter before covering city hall. She says she would have to research the issue before taking a firm position.
Levy, who is on a leave of absence from her job at the Sun, doesn’t think being an out lesbian will impact her chances in the election.
She raised eyebrows in 2007 when she came out on the front page of the Toronto Sun after Toronto Pride. In a similar vein, Levy wrote in her column about her wedding day — a traditional Jewish ceremony last June — in which she married Denise Alexander.