Thursday, 13 March 2014

With Olivia Chow joining, Toronto mayor’s race lineup promises an exciting finish: James

Olivia Chow, seen here at the launch of her autobiography My Journey on Jan. 22, has had practice fine-tuning her compelling personal story on the promotional circuit.

Like a marquee Olympic Games final, Toronto’s mayoralty race offers a tantalizing lineup that should entertain and engage a city polarized by the tumultuous reign of Mayor Rob Ford.
Former Toronto school trustee, city councillor and MP Olivia Chow is to launch her candidacy for mayor Thursday at a downtown church in the dense St. James Town neighbourhood of her childhood.
· Interactive data: Mayoral victories since 1997

She begins the race as the odds-on favourite to slay the electoral giants and become the city’s first visible-minority mayor.
Preening and pawing at the starting line are former Toronto budget chief and businessman David Soknacki; TTC chair and Councillor Karen Stintz; talk show host and former head of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party John Tory; and the incongruous incumbent, Rob Ford.
It’s two working-class women versus three wealthy men.
Or, as the Chow camp prefers to put it, Chow against three apologists for the mayor’s bad behaviour.
Each is looking to lead Canada’s largest city — a metropolis Canadians simultaneously covet and slag for its wealth; a town at once self-satisfied and self-conscious.
And since Ford took charge, a town that is on a global laugh track.
Chow’s greatest obstacle is the perception that, as a leftist and New Democrat, she will embolden the civic unions, bring back the mythical free-spending days of ex-mayor David Miller, and send Toronto spiraling into bankruptcy.
Her biggest advantage is that, as she sits in the blocks in lane one, the star challengers are all lined up politically to her right. They will have to fight off each other just to position a candidacy strong enough to reel in Chow. And by the time they do, it will be nearly September, time for the final lap.

This is Toronto’s third epic mayoralty contest since amalgamation, featuring multiple big-name candidates — contests that often sort themselves out during the marathon event, which can be 10 times as long as the average provincial campaign.
In 2003, David Miller emerged only after Barbara Hall’s supporters — including prominent feminists — urged a coalition to stop John Tory’s ascent.
In 2010, voters had a choice ranging from NDPer Joe Pantalone on the left; former Liberal deputy premier George Smitherman; other centrists Rocco Rossi and Sarah Thomson; and rabid right-winger Ford. No coalition emerged mid-campaign, though Rossi and Thomson dropped out. And Ford won in a surprising walk.
The 2014 mayoral race, though, is unique. The left starts out united behind a single candidate, Chow. The right is fractured. As such, it’s reasonable to conclude that there are just two paths to the mayor’s office — both of them a dicey, nail-biting race destined to keep voters guessing right to the polling booth on Oct. 27.



Olivia Chow, seen here at the launch of her autobiography My Journey on Jan. 22, has had practice fine-tuning her compelling personal story on the promotional circuit.

Olivia Chow hits back at critics calling her ‘tax and spend,’ says tax increases would be line with inflation

Mayoral candidate Olivia Chow fired back at critics attacking her fiscal record, saying that property tax increases under her watch will be in line with inflation, and coming out in favour of light rail, not a subway, in Scarborough.

She also hedged on a Downtown Relief subway line.

“We need buses, more LRTs,” Ms. Chow said on 680 News Thursday morning, ahead of an announcement at a St. James Town church in which she will unveil campaign details.

“The Downtown Relief Line is in the books, it’s a good idea, but it’s quite expensive. I wouldn’t want to raise property taxes too much so I think we need to have a good discussion about all the things we can do,” she told 680 News.

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