‘Add women, change politics’: Waterloo Mayor McCabe says of Toronto’s now mayor-elect Chow

It wasn’t the landslide win some had predicted but it’s a seismic shift in Toronto politics all the same with Olivia Chow elected to lead Canada’s largest city on Monday, marking a political comeback nearly a decade in the making.

The one-time Toronto city councillor turned Member of Parliament was tapped to return to city hall in a by-election but, this time, as mayor.

“As a woman in politics and a woman in a leadership position, I think it’s always wonderful to see more women at that level,” said Waterloo Mayor Dorothy McCabe. “Four words that are really important: ‘Add women, change politics’.”

“The first woman elected [mayor] in the amalgamated City of Toronto–I think that’s really impressive and important,” McCabe added.

But the significance does not stop there. McCabe, also quick to note Chow is not only Toronto’s first female mayor since amalgamation, but the first racialized person to hold the title ever.

“It’s really important for people of all genders, all racial backgrounds, et cetera, to see them represented in their leadership and to see them represented at all levels of government.” McCabe said, while also noting neither Chow nor runners up Ana Bailão and Mark Saunders were born in Canada. “That, again, is a real reflection of Toronto and how diverse that city is.”

As for what comes next locally, McCabe said she’s looking forward to connecting with the new mayor-elect on ways their two cities can continue to connect moving forward.

“I think it’s important for us to have good relationships with everyone but, of course, Toronto is Canada’s largest municipality so I look forward to connecting with Mayor Chow and talking about issues and opportunities where our communities align,” said McCabe, putting specific focus on the Toronto-Waterloo corridor, local post-secondary institutions, think tanks, the tech sector, research, sustainability, community building, and more.

“I think that there’s a lot that we can learn from each other.”

Waterloo Regional Chair Karen Redman also weighed in on Chow’s historic win saying the innovation corridor will be key to building a better connection with Toronto. She is excited to work with Chow and said there are lots of opportunities and challenges at the municipal level.

“You never can match the euphoria of having a win like that,” said Redman. “Olivia ran one other time and lost out to John Tory, and you can just see that there was a bit of euphoria. I can’t imagine how hard all of the candidates worked because it was a shorter campaign period. So, I hope she savers that win too because it was deserved and hard fought.”

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