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NDP subway message also veering off track

Hampton contradicts local candidate, calls for line to stop at York

The brows of Vaughan’s subway supporters furrowed during last week’s televised leaders’ debate when provincial NDP leader Howard Hampton said the Spadina extension should end at York University.

Hampton’s position is not new, but it is contrary to what his Vaughan candidate, Rick Morelli, is on the record as saying.

“Howard’s gone on record as saying it doesn’t need to go further north than York University,” Morelli said in a Monday phone interview. “I’m thinking it should go perhaps a little further north.”

Hampton, speaking to reporters at the offices of Vaughan Today and its sister publications on Wednesday, said his stand on the subway isn’t meant to be a permanent derailment, but a shifting of resources to more immediate transit needs.

“We’re not saying ‘no, never’,” Hampton said. “I’m just saying we’ve got to make some strategic decisions about transit.

“And the fact is, right now, in terms of density, you could not support a subway system coming out of Vaughan, just as the Sheppard subway system is not supporting itself.”

He added that the apparent difference of opinion with his representative in Vaughan should not damage Morelli’s candidacy in any way.

Morelli agreed that it hasn’t – yet.

“I think his comments could have a bit of a negative impact on the campaign,” he said. “The reality is I’ve been talking to people at the door and hardly anybody’s brought up the subway as an issue one way or the other.”

Both Morelli and Hampton said that under an NDP government whatever funding left over from the money already allotted would still be spent on transit, regardless of where the subway ends.

“No one, not even Howard, has suggested that the money shouldn’t be spent on rapid transit or to create the jobs that would be created with the money,” Morelli said. “The issue is how best to spend the money.”

Vaughan Today
Friday, September 28, 2007
Page: 1
Byline: Philip Alves