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February 1, 2002
Toronto a priority for leadership hopefuls
  
Three out of five provincial Progressive Conservative leadership candidates
have identified Toronto as a top priority to them, Mayor Mel Lastman said today.

In response to a series of questions on "matters of the utmost importance to
Toronto," candidates Elizabeth Witmer, Jim Flaherty and Tony Clement have all
committed to improving funding for the City if elected Premier.

"I've been encouraged by what I've read to date," said Lastman, who has been
pushing the province for sustainable funding for Toronto since 1998. "I'm
looking forward to the responses of Chris Stockwell, Ernie Eves and Liberal
Leader Dalton McGuinty."

The questionnaire sent to all five leadership hopefuls last week asked them
whether they would make Local Service Realignment revenue neutral, improve
funding for the TTC and support a deposit return system for the LCBO. It also
asked whether they would share the gas tax with Toronto, help pay for the
City's enhanced emergency plan, remove public housing from the tax base and cap
welfare expenditures.

The Mayor said he intends to share the candidates' responses with other members
of Council and the press next Friday.


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