What women should know about Toronto’s mayoral candidates

On Oct. 27, the people of Toronto will elect our next mayor.

The three candidates leading the polls are Doug Ford, brother of current mayor Rob Ford; ex-MP Olivia Chow; and former CFL commissioner John Tory.

It goes without saying that before you vote, it’s important to know the platform of each candidate. You might have already heard Tory’s stance on public transit, Ford’s view on taxes, and Chow’s financial plan—but what about women’s issues? Recent opinion shows that the candidates should have more meaningful discussions about women’s issues in the City.

Here’s a quick summary of where the city’s leading candidates stand on 52 per cent of Toronto’s population.  

John Tory

Denisdrever at the English Wikipedia [GFDL or CC-BY-3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

John Tory

The good: Tory addressed that there is indeed a wage gap between men and women during a radio interview with CP24 in February 2014.

The bad: In that interview, he insinuated that women are paid less because they complain less. Tory worked at a major law firm in Toronto before becoming a politician; he said while he was working there, men were more likely to actively negotiate for a raise.

When commenting on his CP24 interview, Tory suggested women should play golf to advance their career.

Also, nowhere in Tory’s platform does he address women’s issues like pay equality, paternity leave, childcare or community housing.

Councillor Doug Ford at levee 2011 cropped

By Councillor_Doug_Ford_at_levee_2011.jpg: The City of Toronto from Toronto, Canadaderivative work: Skeezix1000 (Councillor_Doug_Ford_at_levee_2011.jpg) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Doug Ford

The good: He openly criticized Tory’s comment about women’s negotiating style and his suggestion that young women take up golf during an interview with Newstalk 1010 for being “chauvinistic”. He called Tory’s comments “weak.”

The bad: Like Tory, Ford doesn’t have a platform for women’s issues. The focus of his campaign is improving transit and maintaining low taxes.

Doug Ford has also defended his brother Rob’s notoriously controversial comments about women loving money. Doug said in some cases, women do in fact like money. Instead of speaking to the issue when questioned by Newstalk 1010, he turned the question on the interviewer, calling him a “liberal strategist.”

Olivia Chow speaks1 cropped

By Olivia Chow (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Olivia Chow

The good:  Chow is the only candidate of the three to include women’s issues in her campaign. She promises to solve the wage gap. On her website she says she’ll expand after-school child recreation programs to help ease the burden on working parents. She also says she’ll increase child-care spaces by 3,000. She plans on creating 15,000 more affordable homes.

She was endorsed by a list of prominent Toronto women, including author Naomi Klein, Child Care Resource and Research Unit executive director Martha Friendly and several Toronto city councilors, including Paula Fletcher (ward 30), Janet Davis (ward 31) and Sarah Doucette (ward 13).

The bad: It’s unclear how she plans on solving the wage gap. It was reported that she may implement a plan similar to former mayor Thomas Menino’s “Boston Compact” which involves companies searching their books for inequality in pay, coming up with city strategies to solve it, and reassessing every two years.

By: Sarah Cunningham-Scharf


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