Tory elected mayor of Toronto, Chow urges 'keep the faith'

| October 28, 2014
Photo: flickr/knehcsg

John Tory will be Toronto's next mayor with almost 395,000 votes while Doug Ford racked up over 330,000 votes. Olivia Chow, placed third with almost 227,000 votes.

"As your new mayor, I will work with the council that you elected tonight in moving Toronto not left, not right, but forward. I will be a balanced and accountable leader and we're going to do this together. Tonight is not a victory for any one person. It is a victory for Toronto -- all of us who love this city and care about its future," said Tory in his victory speech.

City council will see many familiar faces with every incumbent running again holding on to their seat except Jon Parker in Ward 26 Don Valley West who lost to Jon Burnside, a Tory ally.

Mayor Rob Ford will be back too as councillor for Ward 2, where he won with almost 60 per cent of the vote. Rob Ford dropped out of the mayoral race when he was diagnosed with cancer and ran almost no campaign for city councillor.

"I said listen, we have come across a severe problem. Either we pull my name off the ballot and let the other candidates have a free walk, or I run for councillor and Doug, you run for mayor," said Rob Ford to a crowd of supporters. "Folks, if you know anything about the Ford family, you know we never, ever, ever give up. I guarantee, in four more years, you're going to see another example of the Ford family never, ever, ever giving up."

Toronto's voter turnout was a record 60 per cent with about 980,000 casting a ballot in the election.

In her concession speech Chow called on Tory to address child hunger, poverty and affordable housing saying Tory now has the chance to do something about it.

Chow implored supporters to, "keep the faith. There's a great definition that goes like this: Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen. All of us here have the power to bring hope through our actions. So it's up to us to make hope happen."

"[Chow] played it too safe when she was the front-runner and didn't put forward enough of a progressive alternative vision of the city that there was one progressive candidate and two right-wing candidates for mayor. Once she had fallen behind it was hard to recover because of this crazy idea of strategic voting," said Myles Magner, vice president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union's Toronto region.

"Not unlike what happened in the first couple of years of the Ford regime when there was a big fight back against cuts to community-based services. I think that's what it's going to take to defend the city over the next couple of years," said Magner.

"The whole question of Toronto being a liberal city is no longer the case. Olivia Chow was being punished because of where she was born, because she's a woman and because she's a social democrat," said Norman Otis Richmond, host of Saturday Morning Live on Radio Regent.

Commenting on question of race in the Toronto election Richmond said, "the fact that so few people of colour supported Olivia Chow, I worked on her campaign, and [it] was really disheartening."

Cathy Crowe, a street nurse and advocate for the homeless who has run for the NDP provincially and supported Chow in the election, commented on the support for Ford has Toronto Community Housing tenants.

"[Ford] did a lot of one-on-one casework and that casework would become a rumour. I heard some people myself that I know were homeless for a very long time, who were crazily, fanatically positive of Jack Layton and Olivia Chow, but who said Mayor Ford helped a friend, of a friend, of a friend of theirs fix their housing situation," said Crowe.

Abby Plener, from WiTOpoil (Women in Toronto politics) said not only was Oliiva Chow not elected but women's issues such as childcare were side-lined in the race while issues such as transit were heavily campaigned on.

As the campaign neared the end WiTOpoli worked to counter a spate of hateful campaigns against candidates such as Munira Abukar, who had her election signs defaced with the messages "go back home" and "bitch," and Ausma Malik who was the target of an organized campaign that smeared her as a supporter of the Toronto 18 group charged under Canada's anti-terror laws in 2006 and Hezbollah, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the Canadian government.

Using the hashtag #thecityiwant WiTOpoli tried to turn the harassment into something positive encouraging people on Twitter to support candidates who were targeted.

While Abukar placed fourth in Ward 2, Malik won her seat on the Toronto District School Board with solid 40 per cent of the vote, double the number of votes of her closest challenger.

Mick Sweetman is the Managing Editor of The Dialog and a former rabble news intern. You can follow him on twitter at @MickSweetman.

Photo: flickr/knehcsg

 

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