Olivia Chow’s social media stats are impressive – nearly double those of her closest competitor John Tory. She wishes the same were true in real life where she’s languishing, consistently, in third place. But her supporters are hopeful she can parlay her social media clout into election-day success.
Her poll results have taken a tumble this week despite being a frontrunner early on in the election. It doesn’t look like Chow’s big picture progressivism will return sanity and civility to city hall.
Plus, there’s no guarantee youth will vote exclusively for Chow even with such a devout social media following. But for youth to have a sizable impact in this election, they would all have to vote for a single candidate. The city of Toronto and Elections Ontario did not provide youth turnout percentages for the past elections, according to Global News. In 2011, youth turnout (18 – 24) was 38.8 per cent during the federal election. It’s expected that participation during this municipal election will be high.
“If their voting preferences are broken down, the same as the rest of us, [youth participation] is totally irrelevant,” Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, told Global News.
Amid the heart of the campaign’s main issue of transit, Chow has struggled to raise issues of poverty, inclusiveness, wage gap and affordable housing.
While Chow’s campaign seemed more expansive than either Ford’s or Tory’s, it will not be transformative enough to capture the youth vote in time.
Students still wondering about Chow’s main priority areas for young people should know she stands for more affordable public transit and youth employment.
If elected, Chow plans to boost rush-hour bus service by 10 per cent. Better transit is especially important to Toronto’s very large student population. There are more than one million TTC trips each day with students and youth making up a huge chunk of these. YouthfulCities, a global initiative organization that ranks the world’s top 100 cities from a youth perspective, reported that Olivia’s Above-Ground Rail conversion of Line 3 will provide 12,000 full-time and 28,000 part-time students at Centennial College’s main campus with a dedicated stop of their own.
Chow proposes to create 5,000 jobs per year in training and apprenticeships through the use of Community Benefit Agreements in capital projects. In big projects like the $485 million rejuvenation of Regent Park, community benefit agreements created 500 jobs for young adults.
“With me as mayor, everyone counts,” a Toronto Star article conveyed.