The one thing to remember about political forecasting is that sometimes, you get it wrong. The other day I wrote that Olivia Chow must be older and smarter and was staying out of the mayoralty race in Toronto. I was wrong. She is just older. She obviously has learned little during her last time-out from politics.
Olivia has done well by politics. She worked her way up the political ladder since getting elected to the Toronto School Board in 1985. Her mentor was far-left MP Dan Heap. He hired her as his constituency office assistant during a gap between her elections. Nobody paid much attention to her until she tried the jump to city politics in 1985. Her political career tended to be two steps forward and then one step back.
I started to pay closer attention to her when she was fighting the expansion of the Island Airport for jet aircraft. I think the funniest incident though was when I was roped into working on Bob Wong’s campaign for the liberals in the Toronto riding of Fort York. It was a hard-fought campaign. What made it unusual was that that Olivia Chow was working for the returning officer. At the same time, she was living with fellow NDP Jack Layton who was doing something for the new democratic candidate in Fort York. (Olivia and Jack were married the next year.)
My stance was “so what.” We decided to let the conservative candidate or someone else complain, if they wanted to. I knew what Jack Layton would be doing for the NDP anyway. The funniest part of the incident was on election day. I had brought my wife to campaign headquarters and while I was out looking after a problem, the campaign manager sent her on an errand to the returning office.
When I got back to the office, the campaign manager was on the phone with my wife. The story, as I got it, was that my wife was sitting at Olivia Chow’s desk, on her phone, reading the information that we wanted off a white board at the desk. The information was useful, as it confirmed that we had already won the election.
This latest and belated step by Olivia to come back into Toronto politics is helpful in that it makes a clear demarcation between the conservative, liberal and NDP candidates for the mayoral by-election.
And here is the key question: Since we all know that the money, Toronto so desperately needs, has to come from Toronto voters, provincial voters or federal voters, what party should the new mayor come from?
Copyright 2023 © Peter Lowry
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