She was the mayor in red when Premier Kathleen Wynne was in town, but that doesn't mean she was going to run for the Liberals, Marianne Matichuk told reporters Tuesday night.
“I'm busy being the mayor,” Matichuk said after city council. “I don't know what more I can say.”
Matichuk was responding to rumours that she was going to be appointed the Grit candidate in Sudbury for the provincial election expected this spring. It started with a tweet by Robert Benzie, the Queen's Park bureau chief for the Toronto Star.
On Monday, he tweeted “@Kathleen_Wynne refuses to say if #olp will appoint Sudbury mayor candidate” for the spring election.
The post was part of Benzie's live tweeting of a news conference held by Wynne and Deputy Toronto Mayor Norm Kelly.
An oddly worded denial by Matichuk – who emailed from Toronto that she's “not inclined with the provincial Liberals” – led to more questions after Tuesday's council meeting.
The mayor said with an election looming, there's all sorts of rumours out there. She speculated that the colour of the dress she wore when Wynne was in town to open Totten Mine recently may have sparked the rumours.
“Well, I'm never wearing red or shaking Kathleen Wynne's hand again,” she joked. “Backtrack a couple of weeks, when I was with (Conservative Minister Greg) Rickford, I was wearing blue. And I was standing beside him.
“So you you can put anything out there you want. There's been a lot of rumours in this city.”
She referenced a hoax email sent to reporters a few weeks ago 'announcing' a news conference in the parking lot of Lougheed Flowers where a Liberal candidate would be unveiled
“I guess I had better never show up in Gerry Lougheed's parking lot,” she quipped. “There's all kinds of stuff going around right now. It's that season.”
While “politics is a game,” she said rumours shouldn't distract from the job of running the city, which is where her focus is. That led to another question: will she run for re-election in the October municipal vote? While she has said in the past she intends to run again, Matichuk said Tuesday she hasn't made up her mind.
“Everyone will know that when I announce, I don't know what more to tell you,” she said. “I want to be the mayor. But I have to look at all the options. I'm going to do the best thing for this city at the end of the day.”
As far as the Liberal race to replace Rick Bartolucci as the Liberal candidate in Sudbury, two hopefuls are already in the race – businessman Andrew Olivier and engineer Elise Idnani. Bartolucci, a longtime Liberal cabinet minister, is retiring as soon as an election is called.
The Tories (school board trustee Paula Peroni) and the NDP (Ward 1 Coun. Joe Cimino) have their candidates in place for an expected spring election, and the Nickel Belt Liberal riding association has announced they will hold their nomination meeting March 4. In Sudbury, the provincial Liberals have yet to announce when their meeting will be held, although it's expected to happen in early April.
In an interview Monday, Idnani said she hadn't heard anything about anyone being appointed the candidate.
“Andrew and myself are running to be elected, rather than appointed,” she said. “There sure are lots of rumours out there ... So I'm just going to keep hitting the pavement.”
Olivier declined to comment when asked, but tweeted he would welcome Matichuk if she wanted to enter the nomination race.