Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti will seek the nomination to run for the Ontario Progressive Conservative party in Brampton.
Mammoliti, an outspoken and frequently controversial politician who counts few friends on council after holding elected office for a quarter century, will try to make the jump back to Queen’s Park after he was first elected as an NDP MPP in the old Yorkview riding.
“I think I’m better served being who I am in changing a much larger kind of government to make sure that the smaller governments are doing the right things,” said Mammoliti, who made the announcement Tuesday live on AM640 with reporters crowded into the Queens Quay studio.
Newly-elected PC party leader Doug Ford, who served alongside Mammoliti as a one-term councillor, asked him to consider running for mayor of Toronto or as an MPP, Mammoliti said.
“I’ve been so loyal to the Fords that I’m going to go down there and I’m going to do my best.”
Mammoliti said he did not discuss a potential cabinet seat with Ford if the party won a majority.
Brampton Centre is a new riding in this provincial election. The Liberals have yet to nominate a candidate. Harjit Jaswal, who came second to now federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh in the 2014 Bramlea-Gore-Malton provincial race, is also seeking the Brampton Centre seat for the PC party.
At city hall, Mammoliti had been an ally of former mayor Rob Ford, Doug’s brother, during a chaotic term and an enemy of Mayor John Tory. He has sat in the coveted council chamber chair directly next to that of the mayor for eight years, causing a scene this term when it was suggested deputy mayor Denzil Minnan-Wong might want to sit next to Tory.
Mammoliti says he plans to keep his council seat, but not collect his salary, and will run again for council if he loses provincially. He would not say whether he would run for mayor or as a councillor if he returns to the municipal election.
Saying he currently lives in his Toronto ward, he plans to move to Brampton if he wins the seat.
Mammoliti became a North York councillor in 1995 and was elected to the amalgamated city every election since.
His career has been characterized by controversy.
As an MPP, Mammoliti billed taxpayers more than $14,000 for nearly 50,000 kilometres in mileage for travelling to and from Queen’s Park and within his riding, 1991 to 1992 expense reports revealed.
At the time Richard Brennan, then writing for the Windsor Star, reported that at 29 cents a kilometre — and assuming Mammoliti drove at an average 40 km/h — the then-MPP would have been driving nearly three-and-half-hours every day of the year.
As a councillor, Mammoliti has often been in trouble with the city watchdog monitoring council conduct and has frequently missed meetings.
In 2013, the CBC revealed Mammoliti and another councillor, David Shiner, were getting rent breaks on apartments owned by developers that do business with the city. Mammoliti called the story inaccurate. Neither councillor faced penalties.
In 2014, the councillor was docked 90 days’ pay after then-integrity commissioner Janet Leiper found he had improperly accepted $80,000 from a cash fundraiser thrown for him by his own staff.
The punishment was the most council was allowed to enforce under city rules. Mammoliti lost $26,000 in pay, resulting in more than $50,000 profit from the illegal fundraiser. An investigation by Toronto Police’s financial crimes unit did not result in charges. A reporter has repeatedly asked police spokesperson Mark Pugash for an update and has not received one.