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Olivia Chow, MP for Tritnity-Spadina, speaks at an International Women's Day celebration at York University March 6, 2014. It was reported that Chow has decided to enter the mayoral race in Toronto but when asked after her speech, she said she hadn't yet decided despite the media report. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)
Olivia Chow, MP for Tritnity-Spadina, speaks at an International Women's Day celebration at York University March 6, 2014. It was reported that Chow has decided to enter the mayoral race in Toronto but when asked after her speech, she said she hadn't yet decided despite the media report. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)

Chow says she has yet to decide on mayoral bid Add to ...

There is a speechwriter, a detailed platform and a 40-strong fundraising team, according to a senior organizer, but Olivia Chow is pleading ignorance about her campaign to run for Toronto mayor.

“That is totally news to me,” said Ms. Chow about the newest leaked report that has her entering the race the week of March 17.

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“I have these really wonderful friends that are all excited and they’ve been working at it on the odd chance I may actually say yes, or no,” Ms. Chow said Thursday as she signed copies of her memoir, My Journey, at York University.

“As you folks know I’m seriously considering running, but I haven’t quite made a decision yet,” she said.

Aren’t you campaigning right now? Ms. Chow was asked.

“No. I’m actually not. I’m talking about my book,” she replied.

With the entrance of John Tory and Karen Stintz into Toronto’s race for mayor, Ms. Chow is facing increasing pressure to declare her intentions, especially as news of her organization continues to spread. Flavio Volpe, the son of a former Liberal cabinet minister, has agreed to join the campaign, the senior organizer told The Globe and Mail, as has Lloyd Rang, a former speechwriter for Dalton McGuinty.

Ms. Chow is planning to make a big push for the inner suburbs, hoping that her immigrant story will resonate with many of the voters who supported Mayor Rob Ford, the senior organizer said. Her campaign team is aware of the dangers of being typecast as a downtown Toronto candidate, and wants to fight Mr. Ford directly for non-ideological suburban votes.

As she signed books, Ms Chow continued to deflect questions. “Sorry, I don’t have anything new to announce,” she told reporters who made the trip to the North York campus. It was not just journalists asking. The first question from the audience, “When are you going to announce your bid for the Mayor of Toronto?”

Ms. Chow’s answer: “I love this city. We do need a new mayor, so soon.”

Follow us on Twitter: @lizchurchto, @adrianmorrow

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