Olivia Chow to resign as MP, launch Toronto mayoral bid

New Democrat MP Olivia Chow will resign her seat in Parliament on Wednesday and launch her formal mayoral campaign the following day, ending months of speculation of whether she would run to replace Rob Ford.

Chow will launch her campaign in her childhood neighbourhood, St. Jamestown

Olivia Chow to resign as MP, launch mayoral bid

8 years ago
Duration 2:47
Chow will launch her campaign in her childhood neighbourhood, St. Jamestown in Toronto

New Democrat MP Olivia Chow will resign her seat in Parliament on Wednesday, as she prepares to launch her formal campaign to become mayor of Toronto, ending months of speculation of whether she would run to replace Rob Ford.

Chow, a former Toronto city councillor who represents the Trinity-Spadina riding for the NDP, will formally launch her campaign on Thursday in the Toronto neighbourhood in which she grew up, St. Jamestown.

Chow had previously said she was "seriously considering" a run for mayor but was waiting to make a decision. 

Chow's campaign will be headed by veteran Conservative strategist John Laschinger, while her war room will be run by Warren Kinsella, a well-known Liberal.

Chow is considered a front-runner in the already crowded field that includes Ford, one-time provincial Conservative leader and failed mayoral candidate John Tory, city councillor Karen Stintz and former councillor David Soknacki.

Chow's late husband, former NDP Leader Jack Layton, was elected to Toronto city council in 1982 and had a failed mayoral bid in 1991. Chow's stepson Mike Layton is a sitting councillor.

Chow, the NDP's current Transport critic, has a long history as a Toronto councillor herself. She was the first Asian woman elected to Metropolitan Toronto Council, in 1991, and she was re-elected five times before winning a federal seat in 2006. 

She was chair of the community services committee and vice-chair of the Toronto Transit Commission.

Chow's website boasts that "she was central in forging nine consecutive balanced budgets as a member of the city’s budget committee from 1994 to 2003."

With files from The Canadian Press


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?