‘Not an option’: Gila Martow won’t run for PCs in 2022, whether or not she makes the jump to federal politics

By Sabrina Nanji December 9, 2020

Thornhill MPP Gila Martow says she has given up her PC nomination and will not seek re-election at the provincial level, whether or not she’s successful in her federal bid.

“I won’t be running in the next provincial election,” Martow confirmed in an interview with Queen’s Park Today. “It’s not a possibility — whether it’s my decision or my party’s decision — but it is not a possibility for me to run provincially in the next election.”

She is staying on as MPP for now.

Martow is vying for the federal Conservative nomination in Thornhill, where she’s represented provincially since 2014. She was among dozens of members of the PC caucus who were renominated earlier this fall.

In a campaign email blasted out to the riding on Sunday (obtained by Queen’s Park Today) Martow’s supporter and predecessor Peter Shurman wrote that Martow had already “given up” her provincial nomination in Thornhill.

The timing of her announcement is unusual. MPPs aren’t allowed to be federal election candidates, but if she won the nomination, Martow wouldn’t have had to resign her provincial seat until she files her candidate papers with Elections Canada, due 21 days before the vote.

Two PC insiders told Queen’s Park Today that the reason Martow is planning her exit from the party has to do with a falling out she had with Premier Doug Ford. “She was told she couldn’t come back,” said one source who requested anonymity.

Martow was also stripped of her parliamentary assistant role on the francophone affairs file days after announcing her federal nomination run in November (and was replaced by PC MPP Natalia Kusendova).

Asked whether she was told she couldn’t run provincially, Martow only said she couldn’t speak for the premier or party.

“I’ve made it clear that I want to move on to federal politics, and I think you have to pick a lane and stay in it,” she said. “I don’t think it’s fair to say, after seven years of being the MPP, to declare that I want to be the MP now, and if I don’t win the nomination to just somehow scurry back to being the MPP.”

She maintained she has a good working relationship with everyone in the PC caucus.

Her federal competition is longtime Ford strategist Melissa Lantsman, who has scored some heavyweight cabinet endorsements including from ministers Stephen Lecce, Caroline Mulroney and Greg Rickford. Martow has also racked up a fair number of caucus endorsements and a plug from Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark.

The Premier’s Office and PC Party did not respond to requests for comment.