Olivia Chow 'seriously considering' run for Toronto mayor
NDP MP asks for ice storm help from province, federal government
Toronto MP Olivia Chow says she is "seriously considering" a mayoral run this year, as she calls on the federal and provincial governments to help the city recover from the December ice storm.
"I love the city of Toronto, it is my home. I am seriously considering running for mayor but have not made a decision," she says.
Chow, a former Toronto city councillor, represents the Trinity-Spadina riding for the NDP.
She said friends are urging her to run in October's municipal election, but she has not hired a campaign team.
Chow joined Davenport MP Andrew Cash and a team of Toronto NDP MPs in calling on action from Stephen Harper and Ontario's provincial government to help the city cover costs of the storm.
"We've heard nothing from the federal government and that's unacceptable," says Cash.
The city is seeking help not just for the ice storm, which cost an estimated $106 million, but is also looking for assistance dealing with the $65.2 million in costs arising from a severe rainstorm that swamped parts of Toronto on July 8.
Chow compared the ice storm response to that of Calgary's floods. "Calgary got help, fairly immediately," says Chow. "They had a flood, we had a flood" — a reference to the July floods — "and an ice storm." She called on Harper to be "fair" in the response.
At its height, December's ice storm knocked out power to 300,000 customers in the Toronto-area days before Christmas.
Public Safety Canada has said Toronto's request for financial help must first go to the provincial government, which decides if disaster assistance is warranted and how much it can reasonably pay.
The province could then go to the federal government to seek funding under the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements if eligible expenditures exceed $1 per person, based on provincial population.
Toronto city council agreed this week to ask the province to declare the city a "disaster area" — a move required to qualify for relief funding under an Ontario program.
With files from The Canadian Press