Polls indicate that Olivia Chow leads the pack in Toronto’s mayoralty race… but disturbing questions linger regarding her charity, Institute for Change Leaders

Toronto mayoralty candidate Rob Davis noted in the open letter to Olivia Chow's campaign that the charity reported a 'sudden and unexplained windfall of $564,652 in receipted donations representing a hundred-fold increase in the $5,610 in receipted donations it received in 2020.'

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At the time of writing, 73 (!) candidates have announced they are running for mayor of Toronto. The frontrunner, according to one poll conducted by Liaison Strategies, is leftist Olivia Chow. Chow leads with 27% of decided voters supporting her. Mark Saunders and Josh Matlow are tied for second with 16% each and 32% of Toronto voters remain undecided.

But an interesting sidebar story has emerged regarding the Chow campaign. Candidate Rob Davis recently issued an open letter requesting that Chow provide more “transparency and accountability” pertaining to a charity Chow founded in 2016, the Institute for Change Leaders.

Davis noted in the open letter to Olivia Chow's campaign that the charity reported a “sudden and unexplained windfall of $564,652 in receipted donations representing a hundred-fold increase in the $5,610 in receipted donations it received in 2020."

“When a politically-orientated charity receives a year-over-year increase of 100 times more in tax-deductible donations to train participants in the Canadian political system, it is reasonable to expect expect a charity to be forthcoming and explain exactly why this happened and precisely where the money came from."

“In the current climate of elevated public concern about donations to foundations and charities, and about various forms of interference in the Canadian political process, Torontonians and all Canadians have legitimately high expectations for transparency and disclosure…I believe that a reasonable person would conclude that the people of Toronto are entitled to know if your organization used tax-deductible charitable donations to train people who are now involved in your mayoralty campaign. Such activity raises legitimate questions of ethics and campaign finance that warrant your response.”

In an interview with Davis, the candidate stated he has cc’d a copy of his open letter to to the City Clerk's Office, which is responsible for administering and enforcing the Municipal Elections Act, the City's Compliance Audit Committee, the Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and to Elections Ontario; he is still waiting for responses.

Rebel News visited the office of the charity located at the former Ryerson University but no one would answer the door. We also reached out to a representative with the charity via email but did not receive a reply at time of publication.

Bottom line: the race for mayor of Toronto features a crowded field. But let’s hope it is a fair fight. Let’s hope Rob Davis and the public at large get answers to questions regarding the massive surge in funding the Institute for Change Leaders has received in recent years.

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  • By David Menzies

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