03.12.2014 06:13 AM

Why I want Olivia Chow to be Toronto’s next mayor


Back on November 27, 2012, I picked up a copy of Sing Tao. That’s the front page, up above. I’ve kept that paper ever since, hoping to get Olivia Chow to autograph it for me, after she becomes Toronto’s next mayor.

Why do I want her to win the mayoralty race? Well, you guys know I love Top Ten lists. So here are my Top Ten Reasons Olivia Chow Should Be Toronto’s Next Mayor.  Clip and save.

  1. Olivia’s the only one who can beat Rob Ford.  For months, polls by reputable firms like Ipsos have shown one thing: only Olivia has enough support to beat Rob Ford.  He may have smoked crack, and lied, and drove while drinking, and hung out with (and employed) criminals, and embarrassed Canada around the world – but he still has many people who’d vote for him. Olivia is the only mayoralty candidate who has more support. If you want to get rid of Rob Ford, she’s the only one who can do it. Period.
  2. Olivia’s a winner.  Unlike John Tory, Olivia wins.  A lot.  She won when she ran to be a school trustee in 1985.  She won when she ran for Metro Toronto Council in 1991.  She won when she ran for a seat in Parliament in 2006.  She’s had many victories, over the years. Her ability to put together a winning campaign is well-known – and, in this campaign, she’s got the biggest and best-organized campaign.  She’s got lots of Liberals and Progressive Conservatives supporting her; she’s got a fundraising machine (led by a Liberal); she’s got on-the-ground presence in every corner of this city.  Olivia’s ability to win is critical in 2014: to beat Rob Ford, we can’t waste any votes on lost causes.  We need to rally behind the one credible candidate who can beat Rob Ford.
  3. Olivia hasn’t been tainted by City Hall’s messes in the past four years.  And, let’s face it: Rob Ford isn’t the only thing wrong with City Hall.  For a long time, now, Canada’s largest municipal government has been a mess: it’s a place of division and disunity and disputes.  Much gets said there, but little gets done.  Ask yourself that age-old political question: are you better off than you were four years ago? For most of Toronto’s citizens, the city has become unliveable and unaffordable.  We need the kind of change only an outsider can bring.
  4. Olivia has the right kind of experience.  She’s been away from City Hall’s serial disasters of the past four years – but she has the right kind of experience governing.  Olivia was a councillor when Mel Lastman was mayor.  And she was a key member of the Lastman-era budget committee that balanced the budget for half a decade – and who helped to freeze taxes more than once.  Ask anyone who was there when she was: Olivia can work with everyone, on all sides of the spectrum, and deliver results.
  5. Olivia knows how to work with others. From Mel Lastman (balancing budgets at City Hall) to Stephane Dion (bringing together progressives to defeat Stephen Harper) to even Jason Kenney (working to support David Chen, and to rework legislation to protect law-abiding businesspeople) – Olivia’s approach is well-known.  She’s prepared to work with anyone, anytime, to advance the interests of her constituents, and the people of Toronto.  Olivia isn’t doctrinaire.  She doesn’t like dogma.  Unlike Tory and Stintz – who can’t ever resist taking partisan shots on behalf of their chosen political party – Olivia knows how to bring people together of every stripe (I know; I’m one of them). 
  6. Olivia gets Toronto – she knows all of Toronto.  I’ve seen the polling – lots of it.  I’ve seen the research done by reputable firms.  The citizens of Toronto – young and old, old and young, Left and Right, downtown and in the burbs – essentially want the same things: they want a city that doesn’t cost too much to live in.  They want to be able to get around without a lot of hassle.  They want safe streets, and the services their tax dollars pay for.  They want our diversity protected and enhanced. And they want a mayor who is as honest and frugal and as hard-working as they are. That’s Olivia’s record – and that’s what she’ll deliver.
  7. Olivia never supported Rob Ford.  All of the other candidates – and particularly John Tory and Karen Stintz – did.  Tory gave the Fords thousands in campaign donations, considered a role in their “administration,” and he defended them daily for four years.  Stintz took a fat patronage appointment from Ford, toed the party line, and she swore she’d never run against him.  Olivia, meanwhile, could never be called one of Rob Ford’s enablers.  She never supported him, or his dishonest agenda.  She believes his approach – and his mayoralty – isn’t what Toronto needs.  She aims to change that.
  8. Olivia believes Ford’s fiscal claims are a lie.  Rob Ford won election, infamously, by promising to derail the gravy train.  Instead, his mayoralty has become a train wreck. Ford promised no service cuts – but, under his rule, he has slashed nearly $100 million from bus routes, libraries and snow removal.  He promised promised more police officers – but now there are 300 fewer officers on the street (and quite a few of them are still investigating him). He promised to cut taxes and make Toronto more affordable – but then he hiked TTC fares and user fees.  He promised to create jobs – but, under him, the jobless rate has soared to ten per cent (and it’s over 20 per cent among young people).  Tory, Stintz et al. all say they support Ford’s “fiscal agenda” – well, his agenda is a joke.
  9. Olivia is all about family – and helping Toronto families succeed.  Olivia lives with, and supports, her mother.  She’s done so for years.  She cares for her father, who is ill – and, before that, she cared for her husband as he fought cancer.  And, now she she’s a proud grandmother.  Olivia belongs to the “sandwich” generation – that growing group of people who care for their parents, as well as caring for their kids, and their kids’ kids.  She isn’t wealthy.  She knows the value of a dollar – she had to work in all kinds of jobs to help support her family.  She wasn’t born with a multi-millionaire’s silver spoon in her mouth, like Ford or Tory.  Olivia knows what Toronto families need, and what they experience – because it’s her experience, too.
  10. Olivia is awesome! Look, I’ve been on the other side of the partisan divide from Olivia for years.  I’ve been part of campaigns that have worked overtime to defeat her team.  When I met her – when we both were supporting David Chen – I was impressed.  And, a few weeks ago – when me and my gal got engaged – Olivia Chow was the first to welcome us into her home (Jack’s home!), and pay tribute to us, and give us something very nice.  Us! The take-no-prisoners Liberal war room couple! That, as we’ve learned, is how Olivia Chow is.  She will work with anyone to make a great city even greater – and she will work very hard to rid Toronto of the scourge of Rob Ford, once and for all.

She’s the only candidate who can defeat Ford and his bogus claims.  Because she’s a proven winner, with the right experience, and a recognized ability to work with others.  Because she’s been away from City Hall’s messes over the past four years – and because she’s never been part of Rob Ford’s “agenda.” Because she knows Toronto best.  Because she knows how to help Toronto families get ahead.

See that picture up there? If this election campaign is about anything, it’s about who can boot Rob Ford out of office.

And Olivia Chow is the only candidate, as of today, who can do that.



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    james curran says:


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    Chris Lawson says:

    I wish I still lived there so I could help you get the job done. Go Olivia.

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      bza says:

      Me too, kind of sad I won’t be there to volunteer. Next time I visit Toronto maybe I can at least volunteer for a day.

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      Joe Smith says:

      Send money!!!

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    WilburF says:

    But how will Ford attack Chow and the others in the election campaign? They will all be painted as tax and spender who will capitulate to the demands of the public service and unions. So the question the voters of Toronto will be faced with is how much more will they be willing to be taxed to get rid of Rob Ford?

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      Warren says:

      She balanced budgets and kept taxes way down when she was part of Lastman’s administration. Under Ford, user fees and taxes have gone up.

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        Brad Young says:

        I believe this to be true, but how do you counter Fords continuous lies when so many people seem to believe what he says.

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          J. Ross says:

          No Ms nice gal for Olivia Chow to tackle Rob Ford. Each lie has to be exploded. Every tax hike or service slash displayed in bold. It will be a grueling campaign but strong team support will do it. Tory will go on attack but let’s hope he puts both feet in his mouth.
          Interesting that no candidate has commented on the Billy Bishop airport expansion issue that is being rammed through by the Conservative machine at all levels. The citizens’ groups have to convince the responsible councillors that it’s a bad idea to pollute and blast jets through the new venues on the waterfront that should be enjoyed by all.

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            Bluegreenblogger says:

            The Island Airport is going to move a LOT of votes come e-day. A few will move in favour, many many more will vote against, on this one issue. Watch and see.

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    bigcitylib says:

    According to my wife, CBC radio this morning said you’re running the campaign. Star says war room. Which is it?

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      Warren says:

      I will never disagree with your wife, but on this occasion I must.

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      Swervin' Merv says:

      A regular reader will know that Warren has been running the war room in this space, including today’s very positive “top 10” list. Toronto will be celebrating, after today’s forecast 10 cm of snow, when the sun comes out tomorrow at Olivia’s launch–but a very cold day for Rob Ford and other pretenders.

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    Melissa says:

    Although Chow is a lovely person, I think it’s risky having her as Mayor. She’ll pour money that the city doesn’t have into various social groups. Although that may give those groups the warm and fuzzies, it does absolutely nothing for the greater good and certainly doesn’t save any money. Our city is in debt. We need someone with logic at the helm. Good riddance to Ford though no matter what.

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      Warren says:

      Just watch.

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        Redgerrymander says:

        Please provide us with some facts to back up these assertions… or is it your view that conservatives have some sort of monopoly on logic? As if.

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          Redgerrymander says:

          Sorry… my comments were directed @Melissa

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          e.a.f. says:

          Conservatives promise holding the line of taxes and deficienst but rarely do. We have only to look at the current government. When Conservatives cut to “save” money its always in areas it hurts. Just have a look at the cuts to Veterans Affairs.

          People Like Olivia Chow know the value of a dollar. She knows how people have to work for their money and how to budget. Just because you belong to the NDP doesn’t mean you can’t balance a cheque book.

          Olivia Chow will bring something to the position of Mayor. Its called Integrity and Dignity.

          Saw some of the “names” who are working for Ms. Chow. Congrats to all of you for making a sound choice. Who knows there maybe hope yet for this country.

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      MER1978 says:

      Ontario municipalities aren’t allowed to run a deficit so operational costs which fluctuate from year to year do not increase our debt load.

      The debt we have is for long term capital investments… I would bet every single city in this country has a significant amount of debt.

      What you’re suggesting is exactly like saying someone who is paying their mortgage shouldn’t have any debt.

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        james Smith says:

        Much of that debt is also secured by Development Charges in a DC Fund. By Law a municipality in Ontario can ONLY spend money from a DC it was raised for in the first place. So if a city that’s raised DC’s for Water Pipes & wants to pay for new police cars or social ills they may be able to borrow money from the fund but must pay market rates… to itself. There are other restrictions but that’s the biggie.

        To Melissa’s point:
        I put to you that the “YEAR OF THE GUN” in TO was a direct & measurable result of cuts to social housing, community programmes, transit Public Health and other downloaded costs to the cities & regions of Ontario that have not yet been been fully restored & will take a generation more to fix. Want evidence? Go to THE SPOT at the Malvern Public Library and ask what things were like before it opened last year.

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        e.a.f. says:

        higher taxes aren’t necessarily a bad thing. It pays for such things as Veteran benefits, libraries, scientists, programs for children, health care, roads, fire departments, the list goes on. As one American jurist once said, “I like taxes. They buy me civilization.”

        It is important to have some one in office who knows the value of a dollar. Many don’t. They no longer have a clue about the real world. We have only to look at Ford and Harper. One pisses away his money, the other is so removed from the reality of living in this country and having to work for a living, he just keeps wanting to balance the budget on the backs of Veterans, safety inspectors, children, First Nations, etc.

        At one time corporate taxes paid for 60% of the federal budget and citizens 40%. By the mid 80, this had been reversed. Did anything get better for the average Canadian? Not so much. Corporations today pay far lower taxes than they did in the past and the are given all sorts of tax breaks the rest of us don’t get. They get their tax breaks at the expensive of working women and men, not to mention the children of this country. Some companies get to ask for fewer people working on their trains. The government gives it to them and what do we get. A town blown up.

        In the U.S.A., during the 30 yrs after WW II, taxes on corporations were 80% and up. During IKE”s presidency corporate taxes went up to 91% and guess what? Corporations did very well. The Americans built a great infrastructure, which has lasted until today.

        Corporations make use of all sorts of infrastructure which enables them to make a profit. Much of this is paid by thee and me. It is time they paid the same tax rate as I did. Right now what we have in this country is corporate welfare, while children, Veterans, and Armed Forces do without. Some barracks the Armed Forces are housed in have so little heat, they have mold. Now where is the cost savings there? Heat a building properly, the people don’t get sick and the building doesn’t need to be torn torn down and replaced.

        Ms. Chow understands that a fair tax system works best for all those involved. She understands sometimes you have to spend a little money to save some also. i.e. affordable housing and homeless shelters. Homeless people cost a lot of money. In Vancouver mental health problems accounted for 40% of all police calls. Then there is the cost of hospitals and their staff. But people in a decent place to live and a lot of problems go away. Having parents spend all their money on inadequate housing, leaves children under feed, under clothed.

        When taxes are cut, the government impoverishes itself. Then either deficient climb or services many need are eliminated. When the Cons cut E. I. benefits, the leave families without adequate monies to survive. At one time it paid 2/3 of your income up to the weekly max. It kept people off of welfare and enabled them to live with some dignity. In some small towns, its what kept them afloat.

        I don’t have a problem paying taxes. I do have a problem with a P.M. who taxes tours to Israel and has his limo shipped to India. Ford is from the same bunch of idiots are the P.M. oil can.

        enough said.

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    Christian says:

    Well said. Now lets get to work!

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    steve says:

    Go Olivia Go, we need a strong Toronto with an idea of a future.

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    sezme says:

    At long last, let the games begin. (Go Team O!)

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    Brian Gilham says:

    I can’t wait. Olivia is the first candidate I’ve truly believed in since moving back to Toronto five years ago.

    Will there be a call for volunteers? I work as an iOS/web developer during the day, but I don’t mind spending my evening and weekends delivering lawn signs. I’ll be watching for the website launch tomorrow.

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    david ray says:

    with apologies to Mr Dylan


    someone is coming to give us “shelter from the fords.”

    I wouldn’t put it on a lawn sign but I sure would try to make it a meme.

    go Olivia.

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    Beth Higginson says:

    I went to hear Olivia in Burlington as she was on her book tour. She is more outgoing and funny than i expected. I always preferred her over Jack. I find that she has integrity, that she has fought for the positions that she believes in. Even though I have never voted for the NDP or expect that I ever would, I believe in Olivia Chow and I would be prepared to work for her against Rob Ford (even though I don’t live in Toronto).
    She was also supportive in my desire to run municipally myself.

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      james Smith says:

      Watch & Look for some good municipal candidates about to launch in Burlington.

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    Darren says:

    I can’t stand Ford either…but not one of these has anything to do with policy apart from her being a real super lady.

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    Valent says:

    This is great news.
    Without Olivia running we would surely be subjected to John Tory as Mayor.
    But with Olivia bleeding off Tory support from some women and Toronto Island voters, there`s no way Tory will have enough to win.
    And that`s what we want. We must keep anyone named Tory out of City Hall.
    Stop Tory from winning and Olivia should win easily.
    There`s no other candidate with a signifigant following that could possible come up the middle and win with a small percentage of the vote. Is there ? What could possibly go wrong ?

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    Bluegreenblogger says:

    So barring any last minute ‘surprise’ candidates, the battle lines are drawn. Looking good. From what I hear, team Ford is in dis-array. They have fumbled non-stop recently. Should be interesting to say the least. Tory seems to be doing OK so far

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    Steve says:

    I have to admit, it will be strange being on the same team (however temporary) until you go back to calling us ‘dippers closet separatists. 🙂

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    frmr disgruntled Con now happy Lib says:

    Good Luck to Olivia, and your campaign to get her elected!….Hopefully together you can make “Toronto the Good” again…….

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    Jeffrey Poulin says:

    Olivia has run the numbers, she has a team, and she knows, being the only credible candidate on the left opposite a sea of whining, narcissistic and confused pole-sitting centrists and NeanderCons to the right that she stands a fighting chance in this race. I look forward to seeing Ms. Chow define the terms of this election, to her bringing forward issues that have merit, consequence, and impact on this city. She is not afraid of anything, and you can bet she will focus on what is truly important, shunning all manufactured political issues and the cowards who promote them.

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    Jeffrey Poulin says:

    And Warren, thanks for jumping in.

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    Coelocanth_Jones says:

    I’ve been wanting to get on board with this campaign for more than a year. Warren, or others, could you be so kind as to redirect me to wherever I can get involved?

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    davie says:

    Mmmh! Gain for Toronto…bit of a loss for the rest of us. I find her quite good as an MP. She knows her files, so she must be a worker. She is articulate on her feet.

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    Marc-Andre Chiasson says:

    I was concerned that the luminaries at the National Post would try to pull the same kind of nefarious stunt that they did with Justin’s newborn. So, I checked and saw that her name is of latin origin, and the meaning of Olivia is “Olive Tree”. In biblical terms, the olive tree is a symbol of fruitfulness, beauty and dignity. Today, “extending an olive branch” traditionally signifies an offer of peace. Hopefully, when she wins the election, the good citizens of Toronto can achieve a level of peace that they have not enjoyed since Rob Ford became mayor. Best wishes to her and a big thank you to you Warren for helping her with her campaign. Wish that I were there. Oh…and congratulations on the engagement. The lady is lovely and bright…but she must also be blind 🙂

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    Christian says:

    Hey Warren. Early this morning, before Olivia made any announcement of resigning as MP, I received an e-mail from Christine Innes stating that “Olivia Chow’s expected to announce any day now that she wants to be Mayor of Toronto.” and that this will trigger a by-election. As such she is seeking my support for her nomination as a candidate in that by-election. OK. Am I wrong in thinking this is without class, taste and just kinda gross?

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      james curran says:

      I’m certain many others will be coming forward there. Fear not.

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    Carl says:

    If somebody like Warren Kinsella can see what a benefit Olivia Chow would be as mayor of Toronto, then maybe eventually it will persuade others. I certainly don’t expect the talking heads and drones over at Sun News Media to endorse her, that would be too much too expect. She is everything that Kinsella had mentioned plus the fact she is tough hard minded politico that will school Ford and the others running against her like they have never been schooled before. Ford’s comments were remarkable for how quiet and subdued they were. They are the comments of a man running scared, of a bully who knows that he has met someone tougher and smarter than him and he is a little frightened. He should be because with a lot of hard work, drive and discipline, he and Doug and their friends and family will be cleared out of city hall on October 27th.

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    Harvey Bushell says:

    Any guesses on what the slob will try to do to upstage the official announcement tomorrow? Another visit by a has-been magician? Going on a bender and hoping someone will video it?

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    Matthew says:

    If some one wanted to volunteer for the campaign where would they start? I’ve not always agreed with her policies but I’m pretty much of the same opinion as you are that she’s always worked for her constituents good and is a builder not a destroyer and that’s something I can get behind.

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    Terry Quinn says:

    I like the fact she is running and I also like the fact a federal seat potentially opens up for the Liberals

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    Tim says:

    Babylon makes the rules. Usually. This is a good chance for this thing we call democracy.

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    Tim says:

    Sorry to repeat. Joey Shithead, what he said.

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    Roi says:

    Even I am not hesitate to vote for her for our next Prime Minister/

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    StevenP says:

    I think she would make an excellent mayor. Toronto, under Ford is the laughing stock of North America….not a good thing for Canada’s largest city and economic centre.
    But much depends on the citizens. Why they continue to support this buffoon is beyond my understanding…
    All in all, good luck Ms Chow!

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    JohnMc says:

    A big step to bringing the suburbs and urban Toronto together would be eliminating Market Value Assessment. Keeping the tax rate down means nothing if the value of my house continues to rise. My taxes have tripled since I bought my house from around two thousand dollars a year to six thousand and that has nothing to do with the tax rate. Sure, I can get more if I sell, but the problem is I may be forced to sell and move out of the neighbourhood I want to live in.

    I will vote for almost anyone who is willing to even look at changing MVA.

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    Ernest Scribbler says:

    I don’t mean to be pedantic, but you cite Stéphane Dion as having beaten Stephen Harper. Would that that had been the case, bit that’s not how I remember it. As far as I can recall, Harper gutted Dion with a shit-covered spear and left him to die in a waterlogged ditch. Am I wrong?

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