Chow's decision to leave her federal seat and run for Mayor cost a million dollars. Now she wants to run as an MP again?
By Ben Bull
Published July 29, 2015
I've just received an email from Olivia Chow's campaign confirming her decision to run for the NDP in Spadina-Fort York in the upcoming Federal election. Olivia wants to know: Would I like to offer my support?
Hmm. I was a supporter of Olivia during the recent Toronto mayoral election, but somehow this latest missive has left me feeling a little empty.
Why? The announcement talks earnestly about implementing a federal child care program and outlines Olivia's many qualifications. If the NDP become the governing party, I believe that Olivia would be a great advocate for the homeless, the poor and parents.
But her Liberal challenger for Spadina-Fort York, Adam Vaughan, has complained that Olivia is a "serial quitter" and that her decision to relinquish this very same seat - before it was re-jigged to include Fort York - and run for mayor 18 months ago cost taxpayers a cool million dollars.
As for her current job, teaching at Ryerson University, she's only had it since March.
I work for myself and understand that people, and the services they provide, have value. But they also have a cost. You may have the best resume in the pile but if you have a history of bailing and making costly and wasteful decisions (how many of us can say we've wasted a million dollars...?), any prospective employer would need to take a pause.
The Senate scandal has put the spotlight on the cost of politics. It forces us to ask: How much are our politicians worth? When we read about Mike Duffy zipping over to Vancouver Island for a meeting and Pamela Wallin parading about making speeches on the taxpayer's dime, we have to wonder: What is the value of these events?
These questions are fundamental in the private sector. When I was a junior IT guy for a large firm a few years ago, I wanted to go to Las Vegas for an IT conference - but my boss said no, "It's not a good use of our resources." I tried to get a pay raise a year later but - same answer.
In the private sector, the market dictates what your skills are worth and your employer will limit your ability to fritter away resources. In politics, as we have learned, this restraint, and this analysis, is lacking.
I'm sorry, Olivia, but you cost too much. I admire your abilities and your passion, but politics is not your personal piggy bank. You need to get a plan and stick with it.
If you want to get some back office bureaucrat position to pursue your agenda that's fine, but I can't trust you to drive the bus.
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