The Canadian Press is reporting that Olivia Chow resigned her seat in Parliament earlier today and is expected to formally launch her bid on Thursday to become the next mayor of Toronto.
Well-know as the New Democrat MP for Trinity-Spadina, a riding in downtown Toronto, Chow will launch her new campaign tomorrow in Toronto’s St. James Town, the neighbourhood of her youth.
Chow was once a Toronto councillor, having been elected to Toronto’s Council in 1991. She was re-elected five times before leaving to win her federal seat in 2006. The former MP’s decision ends months of speculation.
No doubt Olivia Chow will be a front-runner in what has become a somewhat crowded field, which includes the incumbent, though controversial, Mayor Rob Ford and radio talk-show host and former leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, John Tory. City councillor Karen Stintz is also running, along with long-shots Adam Vaughan, Denzil Minnan-Wong and David Soknacki.
I’ve read that Chow’s campaign will be headed by John Laschinger, and her war room is expected to be led by Toronto Sun columnist and author Warren Kinsella.
Laschinger—described by the Globe and Mail as “Toronto's most sought-after campaign manager”—is a veteran strategist who led campaigns for Brian Mulroney and Mike Harris, and was the man behind David Miller’s campaigns, or so I have read.
Warren Kinsella is, of course, the well-known Liberal pundit and blogger conservatives so love to “hate.” But didn’t he support Chow’s rival John Tory in 2010 when speculation was rife that Tory would run? In a TorontoLife.com article in Aug. 2010, Kinsella is quoted as saying that John Tory is “the best mayor we never had.” Kinsella sure doesn’t have much good to say about Tory this time around.
Politics does indeed make strange bedfellows. Consider that Tom Allison—described by the Globe and Mail as “the organizational mastermind behind Kathleen Wynne’s stunning leadership victory last year”—left the Ontario premier’s office to head up John Tory’s campaign.
These professional strategists and pundits are like hired guns, I guess, and go where they can make the largest contribution in any given campaign—regardless of party affiliation or Left/Right leanings of their candidates.
I’ve no real problem with that, except that I do find it odd when an especially rabid partisan works on another tribe’s campaign. Doesn’t it make you wonder how sincere campaigns are?
I understand Liberals working for New Democrats—they are pretty closely aligned anyway. But a Liberal developing strategy and policy for a conservative; a conservative doing likewise for a New Democrat? How does that work?
An interesting choice Toronto’s voters will be presented with in October. They get to select a mayor from: a right-wing incumbent who self-describes as smoking crack cocaine “in a drunken stupor;” a socialist who offers name recognition and not much more; or a charming fellow who couldn’t win a safe PC seat in the Ontario legislature.
I’m sure those big-shot Toronto city slickers know what they’re doing. I guess they’re just too sophisticated for us small town fellows to fathom.