York Centre MPP Monte Kwinter is the oldest member of the Ontario legislature, but that hasn’t affected his zest for politics as he runs for his eighth term.
“I’m blessed with good health and I’m going to be waging a very, very aggressive campaign,” he said.
Kwinter, 80, was first elected as MPP in 1985 and recently learned that, if re-elected, by the end of his eighth term he will be the oldest member ever to sit at Queen’s Park.
Kwinter has had a distinguished career including five cabinet positions. But he said he’s not ready to retire yet.
“I’m working on some projects that are quite significant.”
He pointed to a community health hub in his ward, which he feels could be in jeopardy if a Progressive Conservative government is elected.
“That’s under construction right now, and I want to make sure that it’s built,” he said.
Kwinter compared Tim Hudak’s policies to that of the Mike Harris government’s in the 1990s. He said the Harris government closed Branson Hospital, which was later re-opened as part of North York General Hospital as an urgent care centre.
“Mel Lastman and I beseeched the government to keep the hospital open, and they closed it,” Kwinter said. “That was a terrific blow.”
While the district’s demographics have changed — having gone from primarily Italian and Jewish to more than 80 ethnic groups — the chief concerns have not: Kwinter said education, health care and the economy are still the main issues on residents’ minds.
“A lot…are relatively recent immigrants and one of their important concerns is education. These are people who have come, English is not their first language and they want their kids to get educated and to be able to survive in the knowledge-based economy.”