Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino says he has no plans to leave federal politics despite an anonymous robocall poll in his riding asking voters if they would support him in a campaign to become mayor.
Carrie Liddy of Vaughan, Ont., said she received a call on Thursday evening from a polling firm asking whether she would support the incumbent or Mr. Fantino, who represents the riding federally.
“The first question was who will you vote for for mayor of Vaughan – Julian Fantino or [current mayor] Maurizio Bevilacqua. It was just push one or push two,” Ms. Liddy said. “I was very surprised.”
The poll, first reported by the Vancouver Observer, came from a number listed for Grassroots Public Affairs, a polling firm whose staff includes Gary Grant, a former colleague of Mr. Fantino at the Toronto Police Service.
A spokesman for Mr. Fantino emphatically denied the minister had any interest in the mayor’s job.
“This is categorically false. Minister Fantino has every intention to remain as the Member of Parliament for Vaughan, and in his role as the Minister of Veterans Affairs,” spokesman Nicholas Bergamini said.
Mr. Fantino is said to be frequently the subject of Vaughan mayoral rumours, which Ms. Liddy – who is seeking a seat on the regional council – says have ramped up in recent months as he has been under fire over the veterans affairs file, including calls for his resignation.
Mr. Fantino is expected to stay on and run in next year’s federal election.
Mr. Fantino was first elected in a 2010 by-election in Vaughan, a city just north of Toronto, after a long career in policing that included stints as the chief of the Toronto Police Service and commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police.