Olivia Chow launched her mayoral campaign this morning, delivering a passionate speech before a packed room in a St. James Town church.
“We need a new mayor for a better city,” Chow told dozens of cheering supporters crammed inside St.-Simon-the-Apostle Church. “And I am here to apply for the job.”
Chow described her upbringing in Toronto after emigrating from Hong Kong to Canada, and emphasized the role that strong public institutions—like schools, libraries, and parks—played in her life.
“My friends, that’s why I am here today,” Chow said.
Chow, who officially entered the race yesterday, said her upbringing taught her the value of hard work and saving money, lessons that she brought to her work as a school trustee, a city councillor, and a member of parliament.
The launch was by far the most raucous of any campaign event so far. Chow paused several times during her remarks as supporters cheered and chanted her name. Although the launch was not scheduled to begin until 11 a.m., supporters filled the church’s lobby by 10:10 a.m.
Despite a report in the Toronto Star indicating that Chow would launch her campaign with a fully-developed platform, the candidate was light on specific details on several issues.
In a press conference following her speech, Chow said a downtown relief line should be built “eventually,” then quickly pivoted to her personal experience riding the TTC. She also responded to a question about the issue of skyrocketing rent and a lack of affordable housing in Toronto by touting her “very good track record” as a city councillor.
On her campaign website, Chow promises specifics on two issues, children and jobs, “in the coming days.” The section of her website devoted to transit is expanding now, and takes aim at the Scarborough subway and Rob Ford’s “billion dollar tax hike.”
She joins a crowded race as the sole left-wing opponent to incumbent Ford, and challengers John Tory, Karen Stintz, and David Soknacki.
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