Musings —03.12.2014 06:13 AM—
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.