Chow gets in

Posted By: John Moore · 3/13/2014 5:42:00 PM

Olivia Chow officially launched her campaign today and jumped in with both feet with an exclusive in studio interview on Moore in the Morning. You can listen to the full exchange here. I am mindful of the fact that the most active listeners of NewsTalk 1010 (those who call and text most frequently) skew conservative so it's not surprising that I received a cascade of texts from people who already hate everything Chow stands for and -in some cases- Chow herself. But as you know, I give everyone a chance so, just a few notes on our conversation this morning. 

I was a bit surprised that she didn't come roaring out of the gate with a fully fleshed out platform. Not that any other candidate can lay claim to having much of a platform at the moment but leaks from the campaign suggested she was going to pants her opponents by saying "good for you for running but here's where I stand". That didn't happen although just as John Tory has, she did lay out the principal themes of her campaign -a family friendly city and a framework to make the city more business friendly. For progressives she rang some gongs when it comes to what matters in a city; walkability, transit, safety, child friendly policy, parks, trees libraries etc. I pressed her on specifics and she said they were to come. In a campaign that will run another seven agonizing months that might be disappointing but it's not outrageous. 

Chow did push back forcefully about the infamous "subsidized housing narrative" saying "we paid market rent and we did nothing wrong". She is actually quite correct in this version. It's a cute line to yell "housing cheat" at Chow (and before her Jack Layton) but the story doesn't hold up. It's one of those "Al Gore said he invented the Internet" stories that works like a dog whistle for those who already don't like Chow but it's a bit of a hoary old myth. 

I'm a bit surprised at how soft spoken Chow continues to be but maybe that's a strategy to stand out. Certainly in her short speech to the launch rally she had the chops of an old school campaigner. 

I always say, never assume that everyone feels about your opponents the way you do. There's a voting block in this town that literally feels sick at the thought of Olivia Chow becoming mayor. But there has to be some reason why she enters as the clear front runner. She is no-one's dummy, she has cut her own path (meaning the riding on Jack's coattails talking point is largely empty) and she committed to some very specific things this morning (tax increases in line with inflation and LRT for Scarborough).

Tory and Stintz have largely gone silent since their launch and I expect Chow to do the same thing. I figure most Torontonians will largely shut out the race until Labour Day. So I won’t labour the whole thing here or on the show until things really heat up.


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  1. Sonny posted on 03/14/2014 10:48 AM
    Dear John; I would say Newstalk skews 70% conservative. Her campaign did launch and consisted more of registering at City Hall with a brother or forgeting ID...
    After 11am I received an email and later in the day a phone message of an upcoming event on Sunday in terms of organization and the "ground game"
    She even did interviews with LeDrew and partisan PCs & Libs on other programs.

    Tory is emphasizing that he is different from her by supporting the Scarborough Subway. Chow prefers the "7 Stop LRT" With the recent Provincial announcement it is inconclusive where transit/transportion funding will come from?

    Things will heat up after the first "All Candidates Meeting" and the first non-Forum poll will be indicative if your listeners would go to Tory or apparently stay with Ford.
  2. Jenn posted on 03/14/2014 03:52 PM
    Olivia Chow would have my support if John Tory wasn't running. John Tory is a better choice to lead Toronto because Chow, like Ford, is too polarizing a figure. I think Toronto should feel blessed to have a selection of wonderful, capable candidates to choose from, unlike the last election.

    On another note, read this in the Star today re: Chow's campaign kick-off speech:

    “Those lessons — that you need to work hard for the things you want and that you can’t spend what you haven’t earned — have stayed with me my entire life.”

    Even these anecdotes about her childhood seemed to be indirect jabs at the mayor — and John Tory.

    City Councillor Pam McConnell connected the dots more overtly after Chow’s speech.

    “She is not from an elite family. She is from a Toronto family,” McConnell said.

    1) Is Councillor McConnell suggesting that elite families and Toronto families are mutually exclusive entities? Is there a maximum household salary requirement in order to be considered a "Toronto" family?

    2) Being born into privilege, poverty, or somewhere in between does not determine one's work ethic.
    1. Sonny posted on 03/16/2014 04:49 PM
      @Jenn Hi, I just went to the Olivia Chow rally and it was mostly a friendly audience and the campaign plans to raise a couple hundred thousand in the next week. Olivia mentions that Ford policies have been a failure! Her jab at Tory was why you'd want a kinder, gentler failure?

      McConnell is implying that Tory & Ford come from wealth and that it is Chow who came from a low income situation and I would add has served her elected positions well that she could go from School Trustee to Councillor to MP now Mayor?!
  3. Paul posted on 03/17/2014 07:12 AM
    Re: Referendum in Crimea. Based on the comments you made earlier this morning, I thought I should share this with you.

    Crimea's area is 26,200 square kilometers (10,100 sq mi) and its population was 1,973,185 as of 2007 (could not find latest info).

    1,272,871 registered voters, voted Yes.

    Crimean people said no to Be independent republic withing Ukraine.
  4. Sharron posted on 03/27/2014 08:10 AM
    Now we have moved to the American 4 year fixed date election schedule all we have is posturing, ongoing incessant campaigning and relentless obfuscation of their ideological aims and goals for 4 years, instead of governance. Ford is the "any publicity is good publicity" end of the spectrum and Harper is the "lies, lies and damned lies don't matter if you are the incumbent" is the other end. We need to re-establish an election by need schedule with an upper limit of 5 years, as we proved works for may years. Democracy is when the government has to listen and do what is right for the country. Republicanism is when the seated government simply does what it ideologically wants, regardless of the impact on the population and country. It only caters to the ideology regardless. City government should be no more than 2 years term max. This whole Ford disaster proves that.
    1. Sonny posted on 03/27/2014 10:12 AM
      @Sharron Ford will persue this conservative base and anyone who is anti gay.
      The 4 conservatives will debate at Ryerson today.

      Chow should persue new democrat and liberal voters who want and use services.
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