POLITICS

Doug Ford, John Tory 'Have The Same Policies,' Says Olivia Chow

09/13/2014 03:12 EDT | Updated 11/13/2014 05:59 EST
Chris So via Getty Images
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 9: Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow uses the backdrop of a condo construction site at Eglinton Ave. West and Widdicombe Hill Blvd to illustrate that John Tory's SmartTrack plan to build a heavy rail line from that location to Mississauga is not possible during a Tuesday morning press conference. (Chris So/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow struck out at her political rivals Saturday, claiming that newly registered candidate Doug Ford and current front runner John Tory “have the same policies” and that both refuse to listen to the “people that are being left behind.”

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Chow’s comments to a room full of supporters and media in Toronto’s Ward 20 Trinity–Spadina came one day after Mayor Rob Ford withdrew from the race due to ongoing health concerns, prompting his brother and current city councillor Doug Ford to run in his place.

Chow said she “welcomes Doug Ford to the race,” and now candidates can debate policy and not simply the personal tribulations of the mayor who in the past year has admitted to crack cocaine use and spent more than two months in addictions rehabilitation.

“The last few months have been all about Rob Ford the person, and how he’s a terrible role model for our kids,” she said to reporters following her speech.

“We have endured four years of Rob Ford and the damages are substantial.”

Doug Ford all about 'cutting services': Chow

At a press conference Friday night outside his mother’s home, Doug Ford stressed that his campaign and potential mayoral term would largely be about continuing his brother’s controversial legacy at city hall. Chow tried to emphasize several times that while Doug Ford may not have the same track record of substance abuse, a vote for him would ultimately be a vote for Rob Ford.

“Rob Ford voted to cut the TTC’s budget; Doug Ford voted to cut the TTC’s budget. Rob Ford voted for and spearheaded cuts to community services for children; Doug Ford did exactly the same thing,” Chow said.

Chow was also quick to lump frontrunner John Tory and Doug Ford together, saying neither has a viable plan to fix Toronto’s public transportation woes and that both have consistently promised that public services can be improved without residents having to pay for the changes.

“Doug Ford’s policies are about cutting services and about talk — talking about improving things like subways, but that no one will have to pay for it. That’s the same thing Mr. Tory is talking about,” she said.

Chow still behind in polls

Chow spoke flanked by two progressive city council candidates and outspoken Chow supporters Joe Cressy and Mike Layton, the son of former federal NDP leader Jack Layton.

Recent polls conducted after Doug Ford’s registration indicate Chow is substantially behind both Tory and Ford, and has continued to trend downwards, something she attributed to “sympathy for the Ford family.”

Chow chose not to comment directly on Doug Ford’s candidacy Friday, instead opting to wait until the new candidate spoke publicly for the first time about his decision to run.

Tory, on the other hand, pulled no punches in an address Friday afternoon, saying that Doug Ford would be “even worse” for Toronto than his brother.

“I chose yesterday not to comment on Doug Ford’s candidacy because I thought it was important, when a family is going through something like that, not to pile-on … I didn’t want to make life harder for the Ford family,” Chow reflected today.

Despite her well wishes for Rob Ford’s health and recovery, Chow said she “can’t wait for the Ford era to end so we can start rebuilding this city.”

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