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  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 3:27am
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CANADA

Hong Kong-born Olivia Chow urges SAR voters to help defeat Toronto mayor Rob Ford

Mayoral candidate Olivia Chow says Canadians in SAR 'share shame' at crack-smoker's antics

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 April, 2014, 11:31pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 April, 2014, 8:19am

Toronto mayoral candidate Olivia Chow has urged tens of thousands of Torontonians living in Hong Kong to help end the "embarrassment" of having Rob Ford as leader of Canada's biggest city.

Chow, whose family migrated from Hong Kong to Canada when she was 13, told the South China Morning Post on Tuesday that Toronto residents living in Hong Kong shared the "sense of shame" that came from having a crack-smoking mayor.

The former MP for the left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) said Canadian citizens in Hong Kong who were eligible to vote in October's municipal elections had the chance to restore pride to Toronto.

She was visiting Hong Kong with fellow MPs in November when Toronto police confirmed the existence of a video that showed Ford smoking from a crack pipe. Ford's drunken escapades and his association with known gang members have also provided rich fodder for late-night comedians.

"That was the exact time when Rob Ford made international news. So I saw Rob Ford on the front page of the South China Morning Post. I thought 'oh my God. We can't escape the embarrassment'," said Chow, 57, who is one of Canada's most prominent ethnic Chinese politicians.

It is unclear how many Canadians in Hong Kong are eligible to vote in Toronto's elections. However, a 2010 survey conducted by the Asia Pacific Foundation suggested there were about 295,000 Canadian citizens in the SAR, most of them returnee immigrants. Since a large majority of Hong Kong emigrants settle in either Toronto or Vancouver, a conservative estimate of the number of Torontonians in Hong Kong would reach more than 100,000.

Chow, the widow of former NDP and opposition leader Jack Layton, stepped down as a federal MP last month in order to challenge Ford. She said she believed Hong Kong's Torontonians felt "a fascination and a deep-seated embarrassment and sense of shame" about Ford's behaviour.

"There we are on CNN, being recognised not as this most diverse and successful city, but as a laughing stock on Hollywood late-night shows," she said.

Chow is considered the leading contender to oust Ford, who remains popular in working-class Toronto suburbs known as "Ford Nation". More than 40 candidates have registered for the October 27 race, with former provincial Progressive Conservative party leader John Tory the other main challenger.

Chow has campaigned on the promise of creating a world-class public transport system in Toronto. She has also pledged to create jobs by cutting taxes on small businesses.

The mayor's brother, Councillor Doug Ford, told the Toronto Sun last month that voters "may despise Rob Ford but I know deep in your heart if you had Olivia Chow taking care of your bank account or Rob Ford, you wouldn't care if Rob had 10 beers because he'd watch every single penny".

A poll conducted by Forum Research on March 13, the day Chow launched her campaign, saw her leading the field of candidates, with 36 per cent of respondents supporting her. Ford had 28 per cent support and Tory 22 per cent.

In the first televised mayoral debate, held on March 26, Ford's rivals mainly steered clear of the controversy surrounding his behaviour, and most observers thought Ford held his own. But Chow delivered the best line of the night, after the cost-cutting mayor boasted that he had been elected to "stop the gravy train".

"Your gravy train has turned into a train wreck," Chow said.

Chow said her primary message to potential voters in Hong Kong was that they should participate. "Toronto is your city too. You may want to come back to retire or invest … You want to be proud of your city," she said.

Would-be overseas voters must register, with applications available via the Elections Canada website or at the Canadian Consulate General. Once on the electoral rolls in Toronto, they must then contact the city clerk's office after September 12 to obtain a proxy voting form. 

Watch: Olivia Chow's mayoral race campaign ad

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17

This article is now closed to comments

fmhung
How about someone come to help end the "embarrassment" of having CY689 as "leader" of Hong Kong. Actually, I think the people of Toronto is still far better off than us here in HK. At least they can have a laugh.
daily
She is not an ideal candidate either...........If you read up on her political past, she and her late husband cheated the government housing benefits that both of them were not entitled to. At least Ford paid for his alcohol and crack himself. She will only find ways to abuse public funds if she's elected.
johnyuan
Not a bright idea. I think she has dug a political grave for herself.
John Adams
Come on - be fair to CY !
He employs John-the-whiskers-Tsang for his comedy acts
(like the of old kings in England used to have a joker at court ) !
.
The only downsides of this arrangement are that:
.
a) J. Tsang costs a lot of money to employ
b) J. Tsang wastes a helluva lot of OUR taxpayers' money
c) J. Tsang may be a very good joker but he sure is a lousy accountant
pogo.chiu
Toronto will bankrupt under Olivia Chow. She is worse than a communist. she is a life time career politician. she is never about helping "chinese immigrants" but just getting "elected". it is disgusting to see that shepublically calling on hong kong SAR voters to get her elected !!!! Does that mean she knows she does not have enough votes from the residents living in Toronto ???? why would the well being of the city of Toronto be in the hands of people who don't even live in that city ??
what a hypocrite ??? What she is doing is out right insulting to all the residents of Toronto !
she should never be elected !!!
ian_young
These claims, dating back to 1990, were investigated by police and found to have been without merit
johnyuan
To ****...
.
I am not sure if you are serious or just being sarcastic.
.
But playing a race card in northern America's politics nowadays is really dislinking oneself with the mainstream. Why limits oneself?
gideon.sheps
Anyone who declared themselves non-resident for Canadian tax purposes would lose non-resident status as soon as they declared themselves resident in Toronto in order to vote. The tax penalty for anyone following her advice could be very high. She is also asking people to commit voter fraud. If you are not a Toronto resident you are not entitles to vote there. It doesn't matter if you once lived there, you must live there now. Will she be there to bail you out and pay your tax bill? After decades as a politician how can she not know the law?
ian_young
This is not true. Non-resident Canadian citizens retain the right to vote, so long as they have lived overseas for less than five consecutive years and intend to return to live in Canada. By voting, overseas Canadian citizens do not lose non-resident status.
johnwe
The housing benefits thingy sounds was done by UK MPs with second homes and inflated charges on expense accounts, and Hong Kong people in high places abusing home-purchase benefits.
How many of our HK Ministers-elect fell foul of the law and had to go away tail between their legs, wishing they had never ever aspired to high office?
I bet you every one of the LEGCO members who clamoured for accountability hopes no one will find out things for which they themselves to should be hung dried and quartered.
Politicians are the worst criers of 'Holier than Thou' and the Hong Kong lot is the worst.
The problem is many people, when they are nobodies, try everything to beat the law and system and often they take a step more than just use the loophole into the never never land. Twenty or thirty years later,they rise to the top, and become subjects of intense scrutiny and are held to account for every little indiscretion, misdemeanor and infraction of their carefree when they were young unknowns.
Old hat for Hongkongers. Of course if she & hubby were cleared, we can't stick the mud back. After all she got re-elected to Ottawa.Here again typically, Hong Kong people remember the crime but not the verdict. There is a very nasty vindictiveness especially among the politicians.
Hands up anyone who is all white and clean!!

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