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Liberals select Glen Murray for Ontario riding race

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Former Winnipeg Mayor Glen Murray is putting his name back on a ballot.

Murray, 52, was acclaimed Wednesday night to carry the Liberal Party banner in a byelection in the Ontario provincial riding of Toronto Centre.

It is his first foray back into politics since his failed bid to be elected to Parliament for the Liberals in Charleswood-St.James-Assiniboia in 2004. Conservative Steven Fletcher won that contest.

Murray was a Winnipeg city councillor from 1989 to 1998, and was the mayor from 1998 until 2004. He received international attention as the first openly gay mayor of a major city in North America. He also received a lot of national attention during his time at City Hall for battling for new revenue sources for municipal governments. His New Deal plan ultimately failed.

He resigned as mayor to run in the federal election in a controversial move that saw the Liberals select the Charleswood MP John Harvard for Manitoba's new Lieutenant Governor, opening the seat up for Murray to run.

Murray moved to Toronto shortly after the federal election where he's held various positions. He was appointed by former Prime Minister Paul Martin as the chair of the National Roundtable on the Environment and Economy. Most recently he has served as the CEO of the Canadian Urban Institute. He has also been a volunteer advisor to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty on the environment.

McGuinty is said to have hand-picked Murray to run in the seat, considered a safe one for the Liberals. Many believe he will be appointed to cabinet if he wins the byelection, set for Feb. 4.

The Toronto Centre seat became available after former Health Minister George Smitherman resigned to take a stab at the Toronto's mayor's chair. Murray had mulled a run for the Toronto mayor as well but opted against it after Smitherman jumped into the race.

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