Rob Ford is ``no role model'' and Toronto deserves better, Olivia Chow said Thursday after she became the latest high-profile candidate trying to unseat the scandal-plagued mayor.
Chow made no direct mention of Ford's admission that he smoked crack cocaine and bought illegal drugs while mayor, nor his videotaped booze-fuelled rants.
Instead, Chow called Ford's leadership ``disappointing,'' saying he had failed to make critical investments and create jobs, and only hinted at the other issues facing the mayor, who is the subject of an ongoing police investigation.
``The current mayor is failing at his job,'' Chow said. ``He is no role model for my granddaughters. We deserve better.''
A day after resigning as an NDP member of Parliament, Chow emphasized her humble beginnings and her family's hardworking immigrant story in her speech to a packed church in the inner city neighbourhood of St. James Town, where she grew up.
Chow, the wife of the late NDP icon Jack Layton and a former city councillor, says that she may have grown up poor, but she was served well by the city's public schools, hospitals, libraries and public transit.
``My life is proof that together we must put children and families at the heart of this wonderful city of ours,'' she said.
``Growing up, I learned to work hard and make every penny count, to save for rainy days and to invest wisely.''
Ford has said he's not concerned about the new high-profile candidate, saying his re-election support is strong despite the string of scandals he's faced over the past 10 months.
Chow's communications director Jamey Heath says Chow is the only "progressive'' contender among the crowded field of candidates.
She is already considered a front-runner and the only serious left-wing candidate in the crowded mayoral race that includes one-time provincial Progressive Conservative leader John Tory, city councillor Karen Stintz and infamous incumbent Ford.