Olivia Chow has emerged as Toronto’s first Chinese-Canadian mayor, ending over a decade of conservative rule and ushering in a new progressive era for the city.
Olivia was 13 years old when she first arrived in the country as an immigrant. Now, at 66, she has achieved a remarkable feat, surpassing 102 candidates to become Toronto’s first Chinese-Canadian mayor. During her campaign, she focused on addressing the housing affordability crisis and pledged to raise the city’s low property taxes while providing support for tenants.
Upon taking office, Olivia faces opposition from Ontario’s premier, Doug Ford, who had warned that her victory would be an “unmitigated disaster.” Ford’s brother, Rob Ford, previously served as mayor of Toronto but faced controversy due to a video showing him smoking crack cocaine and a cancer diagnosis.
Throughout her career, Olivia has served as a member of parliament for the New Democratic Party, a Toronto city councilor, and a school board trustee. She also campaigned alongside her late husband, Jack Layton, who ran for mayor in 1991 and later became the leader of the opposition in Canada.
Olivia assumes the role of mayor at a challenging time for Toronto. The city, with a population of 2.7 million and a metropolitan area of nearly 7 million, is grappling with surging rents and a budget deficit of approximately $1.5 billion. Public safety concerns have also grown, particularly following a series of violent attacks on individuals using the public transit system.
According to The Guardian, Olivia is expected to be a champion for transit, as well as for walking and cycling – she does not have a driving license – and has promised to turn the tide on years of low-tax austerity politics enacted by her conservative predecessors.
Featured Image Source: The Toronto Star