Civic Affairs: Olivia Chow becomes first woman of colour to take over as Mayor of Toronto
Olivia Chow has become the first person of colour to be sworn in as Mayor of Canada’s most populated city of Toronto. Her swearing-in ceremony, attended by councillors, guests of the elected mayor, former mayors, city staff and agency representatives was held at the city hall.
The 66-year-old Olivia Chow, widow of former NDP leader Jack Leyton, was elected in the bye election held last month. Chow, a former NDP MP and past city councillor, defeated 101 other candidates to win last month’s mayoral election to replace John Tory. Her victory vaults a progressive into Toronto’s top job for the first time in over a decade.
In her first address after the ceremony, Olivia Chow pledged to build what she calls a more caring and affordable city. She received a standing ovation from her colleagues on council for her push for a better city.
“Let’s build a Toronto that is more affordable, safe and caring, where everyone belongs,” she said after signing the declaration. “Together we can, and today we start.”
The new Mayor has a host of issues on her plate. These include a massive budget shortfall, driven in large part by decreasing transit revenues and increased shelter costs.
During her opening remarks as mayor, she chose to call on both the federal and provincial governments to step up and help refugees who are facing housing issues in the city.