Thursday, January 16, 2014

Olivia Chow 'seriously considering' Toronto mayoral run

TORONTO - Olivia Chow is “seriously considering” a run for mayor of Toronto.

The Trinity-Spadina MP confirmed she hasn’t ruled out challenging Mayor Rob Ford in this year’s election but she isn’t ready to give a campaign the green light.

“I am seriously considering running for mayor, but I have not made a decision,” Chow said in a statement to the Toronto Sun on Thursday night. “I love Toronto. It’s where I grew up when I immigrated from Hong Kong, and it’s my home.”

Chow and several Toronto-area MPs held a press conference in Ottawa Thursday urging the federal government to ante up cash to help cover the city’s ice storm costs. Toronto city council has asked the federal and provincial governments to pitch in $57 million each to help cover the costs of last month’s ice storm and July’s massive rain storm.

“Throughout the ice storm, when our neighbours need help, we offered it,” Chow said in an e-mail statement to the Sun. “Now it’s time for Stephen Harper to do the same.

“All parties — Liberal, Conservative, NDP — should come together and do what it takes to protect Toronto taxpayers from costs beyond their control.”

Chow argued that “acts of nature aren’t the fault of taxpayers.”

“That’s why we have disaster relief and Toronto qualifies. Our taxpayers can’t afford a 5% property tax hike to clean up a mess they didn’t create,” she said. “Calgary got help during the flood, so should Toronto as we battle the ice storm. It’s time for (Prime Minister) Stephen Harper to show fairness, act now and help Toronto.”

Scarborough Centre Conservative MP Roxanne James fired back at Chow and the NDP’s presser.

“It’s unfortunate that the NDP didn’t take the time to understand the independent process of the DFAA (Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements) program before going out with a photo-op to help Mrs. Chow with her bid to become mayor,” James said in a statement Thursday. “Contrary to what the NDP has said, I would like to assure everyone that there is a non-political, proven process in place for the provision of financial assistance to provinces and territories in the event of a large scale disaster.

“We have not received any request from Ontario for assistance related to the ice storm in Toronto and other parts of southern Ontario, however we always stand ready to assist provinces for eligible expenses under the agreement,” James said.
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