Saturday, March 31, 2007

Jason Cherniak, Olivia Chow kerfuffle

Apparently Jason Cherniak, a Liberal Party up-and-comer and uber-blogger has had to apologize on his blog for accusing Olivia Chow of orchestrating a campaign among her supporters in the last election to vote early and vote often. Cherniak's hot water pot faux pas reminded me of this story.

Some years ago, when Mike Harris won the first round of his lack-of-common-sense revolution I worked as a deputy returning officer in Toronto in the Trinity Spadina riding down at the Alexandra Street Centre. It was a mixed ethnic riding, with quite a large Chinese population.
Olivia Chow, then a city councilor, was on hand. What seemed like a bus-load of elderly Chinese women came in. They were all carrying a piece of Liberal campaign material designed to look like the ballots, perhaps under the logical impression that since Chinese written script was pictograhpic, a good pictograph would help them understand who they should vote for.
What I remember most isn't the campaign material, or Olivia Chow, but the way the elderly Chinese women laughed and giggled and basically swamped the ballot box, all determined to help one another vote the way they seemed to have collectively decided they were going to vote.
Olivia agreed to write a Chinese version of the rules of the polling booth to help the deputy returning officers and poll clerks deal with these extraordinarily enthusiastic voters and their collective voting habits, despite the fact that it was obvious that they all intended on voting Liberal.
That's my memory of Olivia Chow in election mode.

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