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126 Comments

politics

Olivia Chow to Run for Mayor

Putting an end to months of speculation, the Trinity-Spadina MP will launch her bid on Thursday.

Photo by Tania Liu, from the Torontoist Flickr pool.

On Thursday, Trinity-Spadina MP Olivia Chow will announce her long-awaited bid for mayor—polls indicate she’ll become an instant frontrunner and the candidate to unite the city’s left. Chow will resign her seat in Parliament on Wednesday, and will hold her first campaign event at a church in St. James Town at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday.

Chow’s intention to run for mayor has not been a secret—she’s had well-placed supporters lined up since Rob Ford’s conflict of interest ruling appeared to remove him from office in late 2012—but the particulars were kept under wraps until now. While the move comes on the heels of criticism from other mayoral campaigns that Chow was using her budget as an MP to send out mass mailers in advance of her run, sources inside her campaign team insist that the date has been circled in the calendar for a while as an appropriate time given both her book-launch obligations and Ottawa’s legislative calendar.

As the only left-wing candidate, Chow will likely draw a lot of attention from the four already registered mainstream candidates: Rob Ford, John Tory, Karen Stintz, and David Soknacki. Ford has repeatedly urged Chow to enter the race and claimed that he can’t wait to debate her and Tory. Stintz has said that more than anything, she’s scared of Toronto electing an NDP mayor in reaction to Ford, and shortly after news of Chow’s impending registration leaked, the Tory camp alleged that Chow has “never met a public dollar she couldn’t spend.”

Chow will rely on her personal story and appeal to counteract the attacks, and asserts that she knows more than any of the other candidates about watching dollars and cents because of her experience growing up as an immigrant in Toronto.

While Chow’s campaign will be heavy on her personal narrative, there will also be some early policy announcements. One focus will be transit: she’ll take a stance on the Scarborough subway versus LRT alignment proposals, and make a pledge regarding better TTC operating standards, which will draw a contrast with service cuts made by Ford and Stintz. Contrary to a previous report in the Star, the Chow campaign will not release all of its platform at once.

Chow will be a formidable force in the campaign. She already has an extensive campaign infrastructure in place, with senior organizers like David Miller campaign manager John Laschinger and veteran Liberal operative Warren Kinsella having been in the fold for a while. Chow will also enjoy support from unions, and from high-profile backers such as Deepa Mehta and George Smitherman—Smitherman’s backing signals to fellow Liberals that Chow is the candidate behind whom to unify. Chow has also led or tied Ford in almost every poll involving the two of them conducted over the past two years.

Despite this, the election is not a sure thing for Chow. There are some early parallels here with the Smitherman and Barbara Hall campaigns from 2010 and 2003. In both cases, the candidates started with strong support, were perceived to have taken it for granted, and saw another candidate who initially trailed them frame the debate and win.

Comments

  • robzilla

    Not trying to start a squabble, just hoping for the facts…

    Was there any truth to the story that Olivia Chow and Jack Layton were discovered to be living in TCHC housing at reduced rent level back when they were both City Councillors?
    If true, this would infuriate a large majority of the right leaning populace and give the Ford brothers gasoline to throw on the bonfire of their never-ending (hypocritical) righteous indignation.

    While I can’t stand the Ford brothers, I don’t see Chow as a viable alternative for Mayor.

    Go Tory Go!

    • Tara

      They lived in Co-op housing, which is in no way the same as TCHC. UNRELATED. It is non-profit housing, frankly anyone who is interested in saving their money should apply to the exceptional co-op housing units in Toronto. Residents usually take rotating work duties instead of paying high condo fees.

      • tomwest

        Co-op housing in Ontario must provided a certain proportion of below-market rents. This is possibly where the confusion arises. However, they can rent out the rest of the units at market rates (and most do, because it makes financial sense).

      • raindogxx

        From Wikipedia:

        “Layton and Chow were also the subject of some dispute when a June 14, 1990, Toronto Star article by Tom Kerr accused them of unfairly living in a housing cooperative subsidized by the federal government, despite their high income.[36] Layton and Chow had both lived in the Hazelburn co-op since 1985, and lived together in an $800 per month three-bedroom apartment after their marriage in 1988. By 1990, their combined annual income was $120,000, and in March of that year they began voluntarily paying an additional $325 per month to offset their share of the co-op’s Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation subsidy, the only members of the co-op to do so. In response to the article, the co-op’s board argued that having mixed-income tenants was crucial to the success of co-ops, and that the laws deliberately set aside apartments for those willing to pay market rates, such as Layton and Chow.[37] During the late 1980s and early 1990s they maintained approximately 30% of their units as low income units and provided the rest at what they considered market rent. In June 1990, the city’s solicitor cleared the couple of any wrongdoing,[38] and later that month, Layton and Chow left the co-op and bought a house inToronto’s Chinatown together with Chow’s mother, a move they said had been planned for some time.[39] Former Toronto mayor John Sewell later wrote in NOW that rival Toronto city councillor Tom Jakobek had given the story to Tom Kerr.[40]“

        • anonymous

          I would love to know the methodology that Hazelburn uses to establish “market” rents. I lived in Toronto back in the ’80s and $800 was not even close to market rent for a spacious three bedroom downtown apartment.

          • vampchick21

            I paid $600/month all inclusive on a nice, large one bedroom apartment in 1993. This was in Parkdale. So it depends on where Hazelburn is (I don’t know), and what the average market rent was in that area in 1988. There is also the question on how often and at what rate did Hazelburn raise rent? After leaving the above noted apartment in 1994 I moved into an apartment in a house, two bedroom, main floor, right on Lansdowne for $800 all inclusive. We lived there for 6 years, the landlord never raised our rent (I don’t know why he didn’t).

            So honestly, paying $800 rent in 1988 on a three bedroom hardly raises my eyebrows.

          • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

            Hazelburn is at Dundas and Jarvis.

          • vampchick21

            So a lower average market rate rent today than, say, Liberty Village, or Cabbagetown not that far from Hazelburn. Which fully explains an $800 market rent in 1988. So, no eyebrows to raise really.

          • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

            At Dundas and Jarvis though? Even now, that area has pretty cheap rents.
            I live in a co-op, and my rent is comparable to my peers in similar situations.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            Until last August I was paying $1,000 for a three bedroom (not that spacious though) at Bloor and Ossington.

          • MER1978

            $800 in 1990 = almost $1300 now… and last time I checked that area is super sketchy… it was probably much worse in 1990.

        • bocanut

          Jack and Olivia only bumped their payment up by $325.00(their rent stayed the same for 5 years) to cover the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation subsidy when the were shamed in 1990 by poor women protesting outside their co-op.

          • dsmithhfx

            I was just wondering…. will the Fords donate Decco to charity?

    • EDMUNDOCONNOR

      In a word, no. Tara has explained it better than I could. I have no doubt that The Star will be continually “reminding” everyone of this particular canard as the weeks and months roll by.

      • robzilla

        Respectfully – Tara didn’t really explain anything. Ford Nation-ites will dismiss this type of explanation as semantics…or they would if they knew what “semantics” meant.

        • EDMUNDOCONNOR

          A valid argument is not invalidated by another person’s inability to understand it.

          • robzilla

            Whoa. Relax. I’m not attacking you or Chow or Tara. What I am saying is that Tara’s explanation doesn’t have the details necessary to sway a person’s opinion if they believe a lie or half truth perpetuated by a Ford-ite. To confirm: A valid argument is a waste of time if the person is not swayed by the argument. Not sure why you are so quick to go on the attack.
            I’m not a Ford brother.

          • EDMUNDOCONNOR

            I doubt there is any explanation which would convince the person you describe, Robzilla. Such a person is only looking for confirmation of the facts, not correction or refutation.

          • robzilla

            Again – not talking about swaying blind Ford-ites.
            That will never happen.

            Not talking about swaying you – you are already convinced and you only get one vote, so any more effort spent trying to sway you is a waste of time and resources.

            Chow will need to convince and sway people on the fence.
            She will need to respond to attacks from the Fords.
            Fence-sitters will hear the Ford attacks and if Chow isn’t very clearly refuting them, people will respond to that non-answer and not vote for her.

            If Chow isn’t ready for this, she will get eaten alive.

          • dsmithhfx

            “She will need to respond to attacks from the Fords.”

            The Fords under police investigation? Those Fords?

          • robzilla

            Yeah. The Fords under investigation…who are still in office.

            I can’t stand the Fords. I hope they both disappear forever, but if you think things are suddenly going to change just because Chow has announced her intention to run…well, you are playing into the Fords hands.

          • torontothegreat

            Not sure where you have been, but things have already changed. Ford is toast. Period.

            There is a reason it’s called political science…

          • dsmithhfx

            “If Chow isn’t ready for this, she will get eaten alive.”

            I reckon she is ready for it. Thing is, if Ford spends all his rapidly-dwindling supply of political capital on attacking Chow (which would be entirely in the character he should be running from, because it only serves to remind voters what an ignorant, entitled bully he really is), Tory, Stintz and Soknacki will eat his lunch, and together they will help elect Chow.

            Sorry John Tory supporter, but that’s what the numbers look like today.

          • robzilla

            Don’t be naive.

            Polls 7 months before the actual election mean almost nothing. That’s why you actually have the election instead of just looking at hypothetical numbers.

            Nobody but the Fords believed that idiot would be Mayor and yet…to our ongoing amazement and disappointment – we’ve suffered with that crackhead boozehound halfwit for too long.

            We’ll see how things evolve once we really get started.
            Or do you believe that Mayor Chow is fait accompli just because she announced her intention?

          • torontothegreat

            “She will need to respond to attacks from the Fords.”

            First off, please explain why she will “need” to respond.

            Secondly, I can’t tell if you’re being facetious or you’re a blind follower of someone else (it was suggested you’re a Tory shill) – because of all the “negatives” you could cite, responding to attacks from the Fords isn’t exactly hard to do.

            Here are the top 113, things that don’t even touch his horrible policy beliefs and wanton disregard for our money.

            http://jeromiewilliams.com/2013/11/03/updated-list-113-things-toronto-mayor-rob-ford-has-done-besides-smoking-crack-in-a-video/

          • robzilla

            Relax.

            Let’s get the record straight.

            To confirm: I’m not a shill for Tory. As of right now, I probably will vote for him, but I do have an open mind and could most likely by swayed to vote for someone else for Mayor.

            By “need” I mean that Chow will be better off in the race for Mayor if she responds to attacks – even if that response is “No comment.” or something along those lines.

            I’m familiar with all the issues Mayor Ford has – both personal and professional. I can’t stand him and his brother and hope they disappear – or better yet, they both are arrested and convicted.

            I’m not a blind follower of anyone, least of all Olivia Chow.
            She’s running for Mayor, big deal. So are lots of candidates – some more likely than others to actually have a chance at becoming Mayor of Toronto.

            I’m glad all of Chow’s supporters are assuming a landslide, slamdunk victory starting the day before she announces her intention to run, but let’s see how things shake out over the next 7 months.

            It’s remarkable how quickly Chow’s supporters get their back up if you even suggest that not winning might be a possibility.

            Toughen up Chow Nation. It’s not a sure thing.

          • dsmithhfx

            “I’m glad all of Chow’s supporters are assuming”

            You’re the one who is assuming.

          • robzilla

            Finish your sentence and/or thought.
            What am I assuming?

          • dsmithhfx

            You’re assuming I’m a “Chow supporter” (I’m not). You’re assuming “all of Chow’s supporters are assuming a landslide, slamdunk victory”. Based on what? You’re assuming that after finishing your first post with “Go Tory Go!”, you can claim not to be a Tory supporter.

          • robzilla

            Wrong.
            I’m assuming you had a point you were trying to make, but that doesn’t seem to be true. You seem more interested in disagreeing with me. Bravo. You win, I guess.

            I did say, in a couple of different posts, that I currently support Tory – that is, if the election were today, I would most likely vote for Tory. I never tried to conceal that bias.

          • bobloblawbloblawblah

            At this point I consider myself a Chow supporter and like other supporters are well aware of how a lead in March can turn into third place in the Fall(just ask Barbara Hall). Anyone crowing about Chow winning now doesn’t know his/her history. It’s going to be a long race and right now it’s Chow’s to lose but anything can happen in a seven month campaign.

          • vampchick21

            Where it gets sticky is that the people who buy into these types of stories are not in the least swayed by anything that comes out of anyone’s mouth other than their chosen heros. Facts and reality are irrelevent to them.

          • EDMUNDOCONNOR

            Even if their heroes do walk/run anything back, such people will claim they have been got at/threatened by a nameless “them”.

          • vampchick21

            Exactly. Some people just chose to be ignorant. And proud of it. Which to me, is weird.

          • robzilla

            “A valid argument is not invalidated by another person’s inability to understand it.”

            It’s invalidated if a person still votes for Ford because the argument wasn’t sufficiently detailed.

          • robzilla

            See “SteveinTO” ‘s reply above.
            Much better. Details matter.

            Chow will need to convince and sway people who are on the fence. It won’t be enough to rely on the segment of the population that is already committed to voting for Chow.

        • HotDang

          Tara explained everything quite succinctly. Anyone not willing to take the meaning of something as simple as that is not reachable or swayable anyway.

        • bobloblawbloblawblah

          Tara or anyone else could explain it clearly and refute the story but Ford Nation doesn’t care. Facts aren’t important — this is a way to frame Chow as an “elitist who’s just in it for the money”. What’s important here is that the Fordites have to go all the way back to 1990 or so to find some controversy about Chow even if it’s one that was disproven. Contrast that with Mayor Bobblehead who seems forever embroiled in controversy and scandal. The people who don’t like Chow won’t be swayed by facts – they want to believe this story.

          • robzilla

            Again – Not trying to convince Fordites. I think we all agree that will never happen.

            Chow will need to convince the “undecided” segment that might be swayed by Ford lies and slander.

            I actually don’t care one way or another.

            I will most likely vote for Tory.

          • dsmithhfx

            “Chow will need to convince the “undecided” segment that might be swayed by Ford lies and slander.”

            No, she won’t.

          • robzilla

            Why not?

            Are you so sure that there will be a landslide victory for Chow? That Jack Layton’s ghost will somehow ensure her victory like “Angels in the Outfield”?

            With that kind of blind, baseless faith, we will be in for Ford More Years.

          • vampchick21

            Given who’s on her team, Ford is toast. I don’t think you need to worry about who she needs to convince.

          • OgtheDim

            I for one am not impressed by Laschinger.

          • vampchick21

            She also has Heath and Topp, who helped her husband, and Kinsella – who by the by writes for the Sun. And Laschinger headed Miller’s campaigns.

            Compare that to….Doug Ford. Who thinks a Braveheart analogy is a good idea.

            All candidates who have so far entered the race have a better team than Ford. Even Stinz and that 18 year old.

            So I stand by my assessment. Ford is toast. Whomever wins.

          • robzilla

            I hope you are right.

            But…I didn’t think that idiot would be Mayor now, so I am prepared to be surprised again.

            God help us all.

          • OgtheDim

            I’m not impressed by Topp or Heath either.

            Kinsella I like, but he’s a bit ham fisted.

            She’s in tough against the Tory team, who have both the hard cased Giorno types and a few more refined, so to speak, operatives.

            I agree Ford is toast.

            I just don’t think her team is ready for what is going to happen.

          • CaligulaJones

            Kinsella isn’t ham fisted as much as he is the type to only support winners. Notice how he disappeared from federal Liberal politics when the right united.

            And last time he supported Rossi. ’nuff said.

          • vampchick21

            They might be, you never actually know. Depends on if Tory will allow Ford’s former guy to play dirty. Given Tory’s statement today, I don’t expect anything outrageous, it was typical rhetoric in my eyes. That said, as it stands right now, I’m a bit torn between Chow and Tory and need to see their platforms, policies and debate. And I’m starting to warm up to Soknacki too.

          • OgtheDim

            I guess I just see too much of the “But of course you will vote for us!” opinion in Topp, Heath and Laschinger. They seem to think they know better and prefer to tell rather then listen.

            Chow never struck me as that type so we’ll see how much she follows.

          • bocanut

            Hopefully Wrinklie Kinsella can do for Chow’s campaign what he did for Rocco Rossi and Michael “the Count “Ignatieff’s.

          • vampchick21

            Alrighty then.

          • dsmithhfx

            I’m only sure that you are astro-turfing for John Tory. Good luck with that.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            Chow isn’t in a race against Ford, she’s in a race against Ford and Tory and Stintz and Sockysnacks and whoever else signs up, so she doesn’t need to sway the ‘undecided’ away from Ford, she needs to sway them away from everyone else.

          • dsmithhfx

            Sockysnacks?

    • Notcleverguy

      Yeah, I know a very successful film producer who has been living in a co-op for 25+ years. He enjoys the neighborhood and chooses not to move, even though he could afford to buy a place in most areas of the city. There is nothing wrong with anyone living in a co-op.

    • Steveinto

      Olivia Chow and Jack Layton did NOT live in TCHC housing. They rented in a co-op paying above market rent for thier unit. It was their choice to pay extra rent in response to the false stories that the Sun likes to run. They moved out shortly after the stories ran.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      This is a big issue for me, as I live in a co-op. Co-ops are non-profit housing – no landlord, no rental company, no one making money. Co-ops are a blend of subsidized units and market rent units, under the principle that mixed communities are better communities. Jack and Olivia lived in a market rent unit. They were NOT subsidized in any way.

      • bocanut

        Jack and Olivia were shamed into bumping their rental payment up $325.00 AFTER 5 years to cover the Canada Housing Mortgage subsidy.
        That’s the fact.

        • tyrannosaurus_rek

          Voluntarily, three months before the story hit the press.

          • bocanut

            It takes a long time to put such a story together..

            I wonder if he got wind of it and tried to minimize the damage,it sure is a possibility.

            “Layton and Chow were also the subject of some dispute when a June 14, 1990 Toronto Star article by Tom Kerr accused them of unfairly living in a housing co-operative subsidized by the federal government, despite their high income. Layton and Chow had both lived in the Hazelburn Co-op since 1985, and lived together in an $800 per month three-bedroom apartment after their marriage in 1988. By 1990, their combined annual income was $120,000, and in March of that year they began voluntarily paying an additional $325 per month to offset their share of the co-op’s Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation subsidy, the only members of the co-op to do so.”

    • Em

      A friend of mine lives in co-op housing. He pays a standard market rate of 1200$ plus utilities for a small two bedroom apartment. His rent contributes to managing the lower rents in the building. This is how they are able to offer lower rent to those in need. I have no confirmation, but I suspect it was the same with Layton and Chow, in which they were paying market rates which subsidize the housing for those in need.

      If anything, I think it puts her above the rest. Why pay your rent to a greedy landlord when a portion of that could help someone in need?

      • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

        My co-op’s the same way. Market rent folks pay a bit more to offset the rent of those who need it.

  • ghawk99

    In the previous elections, the frontrunners lost to relatively unknown city councilors who built up their support through increased media attention and fairly simple slogans and ideas (“gravy train and subways”). With the possible exception of Soknacki, I’m not sure who could fit that role this time. Ford is toxic to a lot of people now, and Stintz and Tory are both well-known and susceptible to “guilt by association to Ford” attacks from the centre and left.

    • https://paul.kishimoto.name/ Paul Kishimoto

      I notice you don’t say the media have learned from their mistake :)

      • dsmithhfx

        Mistake? The Fords are a media goldmine.

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        The media exists to sell eyes to advertisers, not to defend the integrity of the office of mayor or see the city well served by its elected officials.

  • tomwest

    “the Tory camp alleged that Chow has ‘never met a public dollar she couldn’t spend’ ”
    What else do you with public dollars? Let them sit in a bank account rather than using them?

    • HotDang

      Refund cheques.

      • tomwest

        That’s still spending.

        • Lanny79

          So a tax refund is spending?

          • tomwest

            The government has money in its bank account. It gives some of that money to you. So yes, it’s spending.

          • CaligulaJones

            Actually, the government has collected more money on your behalf then it should have, and given you some of it back.

            Please tell me you aren’t an accountant?

          • nomoremicrophones

            if the government takes in $100 in revenue from taxes and other sources, and spends $99.99 on salaries, benefits, and other direct operating expenses, and sends you a cheque for $0.01, all of those are expenditures. i’m pretty sure that in the estimates you’d have to count that as an expenditure. doesn’t matter why, or to whom that penny is paid, it’s still an expenditure.
            i’m going to ask around now because i’m curious. thanks guys, thanks a lot. also some googling if i’m using “Expenditure” right.

          • CaligulaJones

            Well, I said “on your behalf” for a reason: you can’t compare the government taking in money in general with the government giving you a refund specifically.

            The government didn’t get all that $100 from me. It got a few thousandths (or whatever) of one cent.

            At the end of the year, it decides if I have paid my share, more than my share, or less.

            If I’ve paid more, I get some back. If less, I give the government some more.

            Try googling “accounting recovery”.

          • nomoremicrophones

            a quick note, caligulajones – googling “accounting recovery” (actually binging it as i live in IE for stupid reasons) brings up one million pages about recovering your gmail account.

          • CaligulaJones

            The “accounting recovery” -gmail then…

            If you ever get too many hits on what you aren’t looking for, just put a minus sign on what you don’t want. Repeat as necessary (you probably knew this, but you’d be surprised how many don’t).

          • tomwest

            Please define “should” in this context.

          • CaligulaJones

            You make a certain amount of money, claim a certain amount of deductions, you should pay a certain amount of tax. If, over 12 months, you have paid more, you get a refund.

            Consider it a year-end reconciliation.

          • tomwest

            OK. I assumed “refund cheques” in this context meant returning unspent money to the taxpayer. (Which in my mind is a form of spending). Exhibit A: Alberta’s “prosperity cheques”.
            You seem to have assumed it meant refunding the difference between tax owed, and tax payed, which is something else entirely. User @HotDang:disqus ‘s comment was ambiguous in that regard.

        • HotDang

          I was half joking. You do see governments do this when they are trying to pretend like they have more money than they know what to do with.

      • torontothegreat

        I think you mean rebate? There is a considerable difference.

    • EDMUNDOCONNOR

      Apparently city government should be run on hot air. Which is what Ford has been trying to do for over three years, so the confusion is understandable.

      • HotDang

        If only we’d affixed some sort of generating turbine over his and Doug’s mouths…

        • dsmithhfx

          Methane is bad for the ozone.

    • andrew97

      Let the public spend them as they see fit?

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        You propose doing away with all taxes then? Who pays for the police and fire trucks and sewers and such in that scenario?

        • andrew97

          Given one public dollar, I think it’s fair to ask whether the government should have taken it in taxes or not. Obviously public services are worthwhile and no serious person* disagrees with that (in this country, anyway).

          *The Bros. Ford are not serious people.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            The TTC is chronically underfunded. Numerous city services have been cut for no reason and others have had user fees hiked. Hundreds of man-hours of work are left undone each week due to a hiring freeze at City Hall. Our property taxes are the lowest in the region. Our surpluses from previous years have been spent. Toronto may be the last place in the country that could justify tax rebates.

    • vampchick21

      This is a mindset I have never understood. Government revenue is meant to be spent on public services, that’s the entire point.

      • OgtheDim

        The question should come down to what to spend our relatively scarce government revenues on.

        But, its too easy for people running campaigns on both the left and right to paint the question in terms of the easy answer – yes or no.

        Maybe this, but not that, doesn’t get people to vote for you.

    • bobloblawbloblawblah

      My pet peeve is the “tax and spend lefty” line(also “tax and spend liberal”), All governments whether NDP, Tory or Liberal tax us and then spend it on programs.

  • andrew97

    After Barber’s column a few days ago, in which he said Chow should ignore transit and focus on social justice, I would be very interested to see Chow’s platform as soon as possible. Because I have a feeling Barber was relaying a message from Chow’s team.

    • EDMUNDOCONNOR

      We shall see. The beauty of writers being tapped by the campaign (if that is what is happening here) is that the campaign can walk itself back from anything that proves unpopular with plausible deniability.

      • andrew97

        I’m undecided right now (I usually make my mind up on the way to the ballot box), but I can guarantee I will not vote for Chow if she won’t be a serious advocate for transit.

    • Astin44

      I imagine it will play more as Chow will try and move transit down a notch on the priority list and move TCHC and similar programs up. Not ignoring transit, but perhaps playing it as “transit was decided on and this constant debate keeps derailing these plans, we need to listen to the experts, not the politicians.”

      After all, she has pushed for a nationwide transit strategy where the Feds actually provide some funding and harmony across municipalities. I imagine she may play this card a bit too – “I’ve fought for transit at the Federal level, and will continue to use my contacts in Ottawa to help the TTC.”

      But getting in yet another shouting match over the relief line and Scarborough subway will only get her stuck in the morass that this has become. Let the right fight over the details in their campaigns, and she can attack Ford on how terrible his record with TCHC and low-income communities really is. It’s not a bad strategy to change the discussion to something arguably just as important to the city.

      And then she can tie the two together – because it’s low-income residents who use public transit the most. She can argue that fares have to be kept low for them, and better service to their neighbourhoods has to be a priority.

      • andrew97

        The reason why we are talking about transit is that we have, for the first time in a long time, a pro-transit provincial government, one that is willing to spend big money. If Chow’s position is, yes transit is good but let’s talk about something else, then that may be as good as a 5 to 10 year delay on new and badly needed projects.

        I also suspect Chow doesn’t want to embarrass Horwath, who also doesn’t want to talk about transit, and who will also be hitting the polls soon. The whole thing is just so goddamn frustrating.

        • Astin44

          Welcome to politics.

          Dropping it a notch in the campaign discussion doesn’t mean forgetting about it. She’s a fairly savvy politician and assuming the Liberals are still in power after the next election, will not ignore their pro-transit feelings (I hope).

          • andrew97

            Doesn’t mean I have to like it or vote for her.

        • OgtheDim

          Embarassing Horwath’s lack of policy on transit is the mayor’s job, regardless of how she feels about who wins.

          The mayor’s job is to be mayor of Toronto, not Mayor of Toronto that happens to help the ONDP. Miller knew that.

          Somebody has to ask her that question.

          • andrew97

            I think Chow sees a needle she can thread. I just hate how quickly we seem to be giving up on transit.

        • tyrannosaurus_rek

          Aren’t we looking at a spring election and the real chance Hudak will form the government just by repeating “gas plant scandal” over and over?

          • andrew97

            I’m looking forward to when the PCs finally dump Hudak as leader, so he can get back to his true calling as a Michael Keaton impersonator.

  • OgtheDim

    There is something about Chow nobody is discussing.

    Can she get a majority on council to support her full program?

    If all the current councillors are either reelected or replaced by like minded people (which seems likely in DoFo and Stintz’s wards and probable in others), the tilt of council will still be centre/right.

    Unlike Miller, she is going to have to work with people who have gained a taste for legislating through councillor independence from the exec.

    There an ornery bunch now, and going to have to be cajoled one issue at a time.

    I think she will be able to implement certain things. But not her whole agenda (whenever we find that out).

    • Astin44

      But that’s… every Mayor ever except Ford, who eventually couldn’t get council to back anything he wanted.

      The whole point of a weak Mayor system is to build consensus among council, and to compromise where necessary. As a Federal NDPer, Chow should be used to this from the minority government days, albeit from the other side — Conservatives want something, need NDP, NDP makes ridiculous demands for their support, more sane compromise reached.

      If she’s reasonable and makes good arguments, AND is willing to budge to appease the centre-right when necessary, it’s very possible. Same can be said for any of the right-leaning candidates if they win, just substitute centre-left.

      • OgtheDim

        Miller didn’t budge much in the first few years. It drove Soknacki and a few others out of his exec. The demand for solidarity was WAY too strong. And the open laughing from the exec at the right on council didn’t help. The right was pretty pathetic at that time but have gelled a bit under Kelly.

        I agree she will have to be reasonable.

        But, she won’t get all her own way.

        • CaligulaJones

          People have very short memories: Miller fucked up the introduction of the land transfer and vehicle registration taxes. He lost Suzen Hall and Brian Ashton. He names Adrian Heaps to his team, then Heaps leaves. Etc.

          • bobloblawbloblawblah

            I never understood the complete screw up around allowing more diverse foods to be sold on Toronto streets. Miller’s people choked it in red tape and made it almost impossible for new entrepreneurs to run a food truck selling tacos or falafels. I don’t know the whole story on it but it was a travesty the way it was implemented.

          • OgtheDim

            Part of that was a particular councillor empire building with the Health department. And Toronto Public Health, post SARS, was seen as sacrosanct.

          • CaligulaJones

            Worse, they are screwing it up again. The first time, the human shit stain known as John Filion actually blamed the vendors AND the bureaucrats. The later do bear some responsibility, as they designed an absolute abortion of a cart which couldn’t even be towed. As far as I know, only one still exists, up at Yonge and Finch outside the Shoppers.

          • OgtheDim

            Yup, and guess who’s ward that is.

          • CaligulaJones

            Just google “”Toronto à la Cart”. I mean, Stephen King could not have plotted a better horror story.

          • bobloblawbloblawblah

            Yeah, thanks for that. I’d forgotten the name of the program. Would be interested in reading up on it. It truly was a travesty.

          • CaligulaJones

            We had two up where I work, awesome Thai for $5 and Korean, and the Korean is the only one still operating (although its not Toronto à la Cart, as they have signs all over and its permanently there).

        • vampchick21

          Has any mayor ever?

          • OgtheDim

            Miller and Mel almost all the time.

            Ford could have done that too, but his handlers were all hard core “ur either fur hus or gainst hus.” types. The story of Kouvalis going to Matlow within 48 hours of the election, insisting on interrupting a dinner Matlow had with his wife, in order to badger/ find out if Matlow would go with a tax freeze sticks in my head.

        • steyrman

          And Miller also didn’t have any problem stacking the various committees he wanted to control with sycophants. It’s not just a Rob Ford thing.

  • Lloyd_Davis

    David Hains, somewhat in jest, I wonder if you’ve been listening to Rob Ford’s broadcasts and watching his YouTube videos too long. For a raft of reasons, I struggle to understand how the mayor could be described as a “mainstream” candidate.

    And given the current political landscape, I’m not sure any of the five most prominent mayoral candidates has any more claim than the others to represent “mainstream” political views. Surveys don’t indicate a marked preference for Conservatives, Liberals or New Democrats at the moment.

  • Ibere

    “Tory camp alleged that Chow has “never met a public dollar she couldn’t spend.””

    This is the part of the Torontonian psyche that I think I will never understand: people are OK to receive second-class services from the city, as long as they are saving a couple of cents in taxes.

    Torontonians look to world-class cities and ask themselves why Toronto cannot be like those, while at the same time they elect a crackhead manboy simply because he will “save the taxpayer’s money”. SAVE IT FOR WHAT? Retirement? Can a city retire? Public money should be (wisely) spent, not saved.

    • OgtheDim

      The problem is in the definition of wisely. What Tory’s people are hinting at is the question: “Will Chow ask the tough questions as to how money is currently or was spent in the past?”

      Or will she do what Miller did when asked by city managers about the long anticipated study for what the city should or should not be doing (yes its my hobby horse) and say basically, “I’m not that type of mayor.”

      She has already begun to paint herself in that regard. Works well with progressives. Not so well with others.

      Again…we’ll see.

      • dsmithhfx

        Miller left the city in far better fiscal shape than Ford has, and the current stable of Ford-lite wannabes in the race doesn’t exactly reassure.

        • OgtheDim

          We are spending money on stuff we don’t need to do where we could be spending money in other areas people want more help in.

          Miller was doctrinaire about not asking that tough question.

          • dsmithhfx

            I’m not a fan of David Miller, and he did some terrible stuff.

            Having said that, he did a far, far better job managing city finances than the Fords’ cabal of nitwit penny-watchers. And in the end, they tossed all the money they allegedly ‘saved’ and then some into a hole in Scarborough.

            I defy you to identify any organization, government, public or private on the budgetary scale of Toronto where money isn’t wasted, even a lot of money (not as a percentage, but in relation to our impecunious standards, you know, where you could purchase several cases of beer or smokes for what was wasted on a bunny suit costume rental for some damn kids’ party).

          • OgtheDim

            I’m not talking about waste. I’m talking about conscious decisions about where to spend money.

            And, you know, the whole “the other side did worse” debate misses the point.

            Time to do the correct thing, not just what the other side didn’t do.

          • dsmithhfx

            Decisions about where governments spend money are always political.You may hate that (and obviously you do), but that’s just the way it is. Your “correct thing” is always someone else’s horrible waste (cf. subways vs. LRT).

    • vampchick21

      There is a difference between being a cheap ass penny pincher and being prudent about when and where money is being spent and if you are getting your money’s worth. And there are a lot of people who don’t understand the difference. Ford being one.

  • CJ

    Ford’s dirty laundry is out, and he is still our Mayor.

    This issue with “subsidized living” is peanuts compared to crack cocaine and drunk driving.Our justice system is weak and corrupt – time will tell what happens.