By Gerald V. Paul
The Camera went up close and personal with Olivia Chow at a Chinese mall at the corner of Brimley and Sheppard where she has one of her campaign offices last Sunday and while it was Thanksgiving weekend, Chow was all over Toronto connecting with the community.
So what was she thankful for? God, country, volunteers and, of course, the opportunity to run for mayor, to make a difference, to leave a legacy. As for hard work, public service and paying it forward, these are things that come naturally, she said.
During the week, Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, posted on Facebook: “As an MP, Olivia showed great leadership on the transport file. I applaud her commitment to children and to a greener Toronto.”
Asked about her thoughts when she was told to “Go back to China”, a livid Chow said, “It’s just racist. Racism exists. People are in a racialized society. This is home. We need to stand together to say that racism has no place in this community.” She noted that Toronto’s motto is “diversity our strength.”
She is on record as supporting the Caribbean community.
“Racial profiling damages young peoples’ lives and make them feel targeted. Demoralized. We need to stop carding.”
As for the Scotiabank Carnival, Chow was a fixture during the parades, even in costumes. “I will work to fight for more funding from the federal government. They only give $60,000 to the Carnival but collect much more in taxes.”
Chow expressed support for Munira Abukar, running in Ward 2 who experienced racism when his campaign poster was defaced. And in Ward 12, candidate Lekan Olawoye claimed he “was the victim of politically motivated vandalism.”
“Our city needs a new mayor. Someone who understands what life is like. What it’s like caring for kids or aging parents. Taking the TTC or struggling to find work. We need a mayor who understands that everyone and every neighbourhood counts,” Chow said.
Chow stressed we cannot afford four more years of Tory-Ford policies because they leave people behind. “Because every person counts, no matter their income, where they come from or where they live. No one should be left behind.”
When Chow arrived in Canada at age 13, her family didn’t have much money and struggled – unlike her two opponents, she says, front runner John Tory and Doug Ford.
“Doug Ford and John Tory want a 30-year tax hike we don’t need. We need to invest wisely. I will build above-ground rail to Scarborough – with four more stops, finished four years faster than underground rail. For a billion dollars less,” Chow said.
As mayor, Chow said she will:
• Put children and families at the heart of the city, including after school recreation programs for kids.
• Create jobs through tax cuts for small business.
• Match immigrant entrepreneurs to existing businesses.