Olivia Chow triumphs in the heated election for mayor of Toronto.
A left-wing progressive standard-bearer has been elected mayor of Toronto, defeating a historically crowded field of 102 competitors.
Olivia Chow, 66, stated that she will seek to make the city “more caring, affordable, and safe.”
The contest has mostly centered on affordability and public safety.
Following the unexpected resignation of incumbent John Tory, Torontonians voted for a mayor for the second time in eight months.
Ms Chow, who was born in Hong Kong, is a well-known veteran of Canadian progressive politics.
In her winning speech, she mentioned her immigrant heritage, recalling her arrival in Canada at the age of 13.
The capital of Canada is a location “where an immigrant kid could be standing in front of you as your new mayor.”
“Toronto is a place of hope, of second chances,” she says.
“While I’ve been knocked down, I’ve always gotten back up,” Ms Chow added. “Because the people of this city are worthy of the fight.”
The mayoral byelection was called after former mayor Mr. Tory, 68, a moderate conservative, resigned in February, only hours after the Toronto Star reported he had an affair with a 31-year-old worker during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Mr. Tory had just won a third term with a majority of almost 60%.
This was Toronto’s first mayoral election without an incumbent since 2014, and there was no apparent center-right successor to Mr Tory.
Support for those candidates failed to consolidate, including former police chief Mark Saunders, who gained some backing from Ontario Premier Doug Ford, and former deputy mayor Ana Bailo, who won a last-minute endorsement from Mr Tory, leaving Ms Chow with a narrow route to victory.
In Monday’s election, she received approximately 37% of the vote.
Ms Chow’s election marks the first time in a decade that a progressive has led the city, and her success portends future conflicts with Mr Ford, the conservative premier who claimed earlier this month that her victory would be “an unmitigated disaster.”
Canada now has the highest household debt in the G7.
She was a city councillor in downtown Toronto before being elected to the legislature in 2006. She was married to Jack Layton, the late federal NDP leader who died in 2011.
Ms Chow campaigned for mayor in 2014 and finished third.
Her campaign in this race centered on Toronto’s housing affordability crisis, promising to develop homes on city-owned land and provide more assistance to tenants.
Her program includes additional assistance for the city’s homeless population, such as more social housing and the establishment of “respite spaces” available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, where Torontonians could get baths, meals, and other important services.
She was chastised, though, for failing to indicate how much she planned to boost property taxes to fund her promises.