Olivia Chow opens up about her journey as a politician

Olivia Chow at the the Sears Atrium in George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre (Cosette Schulz / Ryersonian Staff)

Olivia Chow at the the Sears Atrium in George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre (Cosette Schulz / Ryersonian Staff)

Olivia Chow addressed speculations about her possible bid for Toronto’s mayor during a panel at Ryerson, on Jan. 29.

The MP hasn’t confirmed whether she’ll be running for the upcoming mayoral election, but she said she’s still “trying to make a decision.” At the beginning of the panel, host Cathy Crowe, who is a visiting practitioner at Ryerson, asked people to tweet with the hashtag #pleaserun4mayor.

Chow was at Ryerson for an event called “A conversation with Olivia Chow” at the Sears Atrium, in the George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre.

She also spoke about her memoir, My Journey, which released earlier this month. Chow said her looks back on the people and the events that led up to her life in politics. In it, she speaks candidly about immigrating to Canada as a child, the domestic violence between her parents and her personal connection with Christianity.

“I think it’s important to share stories…about overcoming adversity and the importance of public service and how wonderful love can be,” said Chow.

During the panel, several Ryerson students who delved into some of the issues and themes found in Chow’s book such as the importance of affordable housing, good education and the need for better immigration policies.

When it comes to working in politics, Chow said, “It’s all about community.” Even when working with people with different political ideology, she said it’s important to find common ground and understand “what motivates them.”

The floor was opened to questions from people in the audience at the end of the panel. One person asked her thoughts on Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

“Being judgmental is not always a good thing so I don’t want to judge, but I don’t want my grandchildren to have Rob Ford as their role model,” Chow said. “We are so much more than Rob Ford.”

Following the panel discussion, Chow signed copies of her book and chatted with members of the audience.

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