Wednesday, September 03, 2014

3 Reasons Why Olivia Chow Continues to Sink

And no, it has nothing to do with Warren Kinsella, however much you despise the man.

A week is a long time in politics, and Olivia Chow still has roughly seven weeks to work with. It could still happen that after the night of Oct 27, 2014, we could be talking about "Chow time in Toronto". This, despite the fact that she is polling third, behind Rob Ford, and an almost out of reach John Tory at first, after Labour day. Rob Ford could still have a "drunken stupor". Tory could, well, be a Tory - and propose something silly like funding for transit for the religious or something.

However, barring an upset of epic proportions, the one time front runner Olivia Chow is going to be an also-ran in this year's municipal elections, and John Tory (who entered the race a distant third) is going to be Toronto's next mayor. Here is why.

Transit, and Scarborough

Transit is the number 1 issue on the minds of Torontonians. When David Miller was mayor, he worked out a deal with the province that would have LRTs across the city, especially Scarborough. He dubbed the plan "Transit City". At last, something was going to get done. Then along came Rob Ford, and he killed that plan, and we started all over again. Everyone now wanted a subway. The provincial election happened, and all the pro-subway candidates got elected. The province said fine, we will give you your subway.

So now, finally, we have a deal to have a Scarborough subway, and along comes Olivia Chow, to kill that plan, and go back to LRTs. Folks in the city want this endless flip flopping to stop, and just build something. Anything. Even if a 3-stop subway is less effective than a 7-stop LRT, so be it - just don't keep changing the plans. Olivia Chow doesn't get that. In her plan, she would keep the tax increase that was to pay for the subway, but kill the subway. That is a losing proposition from day one.

Even with the rest of the city, Olivia Chow has no subway plans, except a small downtown relief portion, when clearly going underground would be the best way to move everyone. Yes, there is a cost to it. Olivia Chow would have LRTs, and more buses. More buses?!!! That's just adding to the gridlock.

Against this, John Tory's SmartTrack proposal sounds logical, doable, and well thought out. He started from the gate early on with this proposal and it had the whole summer to build traction. Yes, some has called it "snake oil", but crucially, he seems to have the backing of the Liberal government at Queen's Park. Tory's plan connects the city right across from Mississauga to Markham, and is ambitious, sexy and everything that Chow's plan is not. And the day Chow did decide to release her own transit map, along comes Warren Kinsella to cause a ruckus by labeling Tory as a "segregationist". Dumb, dumb move, yes, but Chow's real problem with transit starts way before that.

Chow is not a great speaker

You may be really good, sincere and honest. You could be hardworking with a lot of great ideas. You could be this and that - but you need to be able to communicate your ideas and experience. You need to be articulate. You need to have charisma.

Olivia Chow, sadly, doesn't. When she speaks, all you want to do is turn the TV off. She can't communicate her platform properly. Her sentences are sometimes wrong grammatically. She cannot give an inspiring speech to save her career. On the stump she comes across as wooden, irritated and rehearsed. She only needs to look at Barbara Hall and Stephane Dion to see how careers were destroyed by the inability to string a coherent sentence together with charisma.

Chow's Platform is too unfocused, and does not resonate

What's Rob Ford about? Subways (and crack).

What's John Tory about? Smart Track.

What's Olivia Chow about? Err ... purple?

Even her platform website is too unwieldy. She has too many ideas out there, and no focus on a single one. And caring for kids - who in Toronto really cares about the breakfast program, for which she would raise Land Transfer taxes? When I was a kid I ate my breakfast at home. She should have focused on a handful of issues that most Torontonians actually cared about, and not about 20 issues. Whoever is running her campaign and advising her needs to be fired.

So now, it's September 4, and Olivia Chow has about seven weeks to rescue her floundering ship. It will be an interesting election day on Oct 27, 2014.

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