At the beginning of the election, with Rob Ford embroiled in scandal, it appeared as though the bourgeoisie had picked Olivia Chow as their mayoral candidate. An article in The Globe and Mail on May 23, entitled “The NDPer in Pinstripes?”, described the concentrated efforts to appeal to Bay Street and Yorkville elite. Big capitalists such Margaret McCain, the heiress to the McCain foods fortune and Richard Peddie, former CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, were brought on board as co-chairs to the campaign in what a Chow spokesperson described as “sort of our nod to the business community and to Toronto’s establishment that they don’t have to worry.”
Meanwhile, this past summer, tens of thousands of Palestinian immigrants and their allies piled into the streets of Toronto demanding an end to the genocide in Gaza, often physically being assaulted by right wing thugs. Where was Olivia Chow in all of this? Securing her solidarity with the imperialist camp by marching in support of Israel. Is it right of us to expect or ask those immigrant communities most affected by Canadian imperialism—such as the Palestinian, Afghan or Pakistani communities in Toronto—to throw their support behind pro-imperialists such as Chow?
One particular anti-people meme spread by Toronto liberals is about the election of Rob Ford and its relationship to amalgamation. The unenlightened, lower income suburbs, so the story goes, lack the altruistic liberal sensitivities of their downtown counterparts and are somehow to blame for the downfall of “Toronto the Good.” However, most people in the suburbs are not voting for any mayoral candidate, particularly those from low income and immigrant communities.
While chauvinist speech in all forms—such as the public speeches and claims of the Ford brothers—should be challenged and opposed, the masses realize that their day-to-day realities are filled with the oppression of racism, sexism and homophobia on a daily basis. Should we be so shocked when those in power make this fact explicit? We must remember that it was not under Ford, but under David Miller, that the TAVIS police force, which has been terrorizing poor and racialized communities was enacted. This increase in policing is necessary for the forces of gentrification to function in order to secure more profit for Chow’s developer and real estate friends, displacing people to the suburbs and further segregating our city.
Just like the “Stop Ford” politics have failed to move forward in not only building a revolutionary movement that can defeat capitalism and imperialism, it has failed to even stop the attacks against those most in need. These issues affecting those least off in our city—such as gentrification, police brutality, and endemic poverty—will not be addressed through the kinder gentler imperialist ruling class represented by Chow. Likewise, the Stop Harper agenda, which is already being pushed by the bureaucratic labour unions and other old stalwart organs of social democracy, will fail to move progressive and revolutionary forces forward.
This is why PRAC Toronto calls for a boycott of the Toronto Mayoral Election farce, and to secure our commitment to reject all forms of fake democracy offered to us by the ruling class.