Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Finally, in Olivia Chow, Toronto has an opportunity to elect the kind of mayor the city so desperately needs, while downtown Toronto has the opportunity to elect a new Member of Parliament worthy of Ms. Chow.

At the same time, a by-election must be held to replace Ms. Chow, and many New Democrats believe they have just the man for the job – Joseph Cressy, a rising star on the Toronto political scene.

First, to the mayoralty race, whose outcome only the rash would try to predict. It still seems impossible, after all, that Rob Ford was ever elected mayor of Toronto. It seems even more impossible that Rob Ford could be re-elected mayor of Toronto. Yet despite everything, the man commands almost a third of the vote, quite enough in a multi-candidate election to slip in. Of course how pre-campaign polls translate into actual voting behaviour is any pundit's uninformed guess. The mind boggles, but it's not impossible.

Story continues below advertisement

Still, Ms. Chow is a formidable candidate. She's an altogether appealing figure. She's comfortable in her own skin and makes others feel comfortable in turn. How many other New Democrats could have earned so many influential supporters from other parties? She's smart and tireless, cheerful and easy-going, a serious and knowledgeable public policy wonk, idealistic yet realistic, combining deep compassion with a readiness to work with others to get things done. She's spent her entire career fighting to make life better for those who grew up with as few privileges as she did herself. She's a splendid reflection of the new Toronto, and her many admirers would go to the barricades for her. As they'd better do in the interminable eight months to come.

After Toronto's bizarro world of the last four years, she seems to me exactly the antidote the city so badly needs. In a previous mayoralty campaign, I publicly urged John Tory to run. But I fear his best political days are now past. The race is between Ms. Chow and Mr. Ford, and it's going to be tight and it's going to be dirty. I just hope the Chow campaign doesn't get down in the gutter with some of her opponents.

As for Joe Cressy, his time has arrived, and his many admirers are pressing him to go for it. Whenever it's called, and with the downtown Toronto Liberals in bitter public disarray, the by-election to replace Ms. Chow is his perfect opportunity. There's vague talk he could be challenged if he runs for the nomination, but that seems implausible. No one knows the riding better, no one's been closer to Olivia Chow, and no one has a brighter future in Canadian public life.

Even as a youngster Joe Cressy was an unusually admirable figure. This is a young man who chose to spend a year of high school far from home, in Nelson Mandela's South Africa, where he lived with both black and white families. He spent an undergraduate year at the University of Ghana – the only non-African in the entire university – where he dared to promote gay and lesbian rights and during breaks rode a moped around West Africa so he could experience first-hand the Africa that tourists and diplomats never see.

On school breaks he worked on First Nation literacy programs in northern Canada. After graduation he returned to South Africa to work for a human rights NGO for another year. In Toronto he's been a tireless volunteer for good causes. And wherever he's been, he's been a bold political activist for progressive causes. This is not your run-of-the-mill resume. But it's the real Joe Cressy.

If he goes for the nomination, Mr. Cressy will have to quit his senior position at the Stephen Lewis Foundation, where he has worked to support women's HIV/AIDS groups in Africa. As Mr. Cressy's entire life has demonstrated, he cares passionately about those the world leaves behind. That focus is what Canada needs so urgently today, as inequality soars and the political world is in thrall to some mysterious entity called the hardworkingmiddleclass.

Like Chow, Mr. Cressy also understands what a city really is and what it needs to fulfill its potential in our lives. With Ms. Chow running Toronto as it should be run and Mr. Cressy adding his voice in Ottawa, maybe metropolitan Canada will come closer to reaching its true potential.

Story continues below advertisement

Throughout her long career, Olivia Chow has demonstrated that politics can be an honourable calling, a proposition that seems almost laughable in our age of political buffoonery in Toronto and mean-spiritedness in Ottawa. Throughout his shorter but jam-packed career, distinguished by fascinating experiences and an unswerving commitment to social justice, Joe Cressy has demonstrated that idealism and principle are not dead among younger Canadians. I can't imagine anyone better to build on Olivia Chow's distinguished contribution to Canadian public life.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies