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Cathy Crowe launches bid for Toronto Centre seat

Street nurse hailed for commitment to social justice

NDP candidate Cathy Crowe holds her grandson at her campaign launch. Credit: Rob Salerno
Street nurse Cathy Crowe has launched her second campaign to win the Toronto-Centre seat in Queen’s Park for the NDP.
Crowe made the announcement Aug 14 at her campaign office on Queen St E, near Sherbourne St. She told a group of supporters that she was running again because of the strong backing she felt in the community during and after her first attempt at the seat.
“In the last election, I ran because I was walking up Sherbourne St with a Toronto Star reporter and I was reminded about how things have gotten worse over seven years of the McGuinty government,” she said.
She credits the efforts of the Ontario NDP in that Feb 2010 by-election with convincing the McGuinty government to keep the riding’s Grace Hospital open.
Crowe wrapped up her speech by hinting that much of her strategy will be to run against the Ford administration at city hall.
“This campaign we’re going to be working on saving city services we desperately need: libraries, recreation centres, shelters and daycares,” she said.
Crowe was a strong presence in the last campaign, where she placed second to Glen Murray, pulling in 33 percent of the vote to Murray’s 47 percent. Murray will carry the banner for the Liberals again in this election.
New faces in this year’s election are Martin Abell, running for the Progressive Conservatives, and Mark Daye, running for the Green Party. Both Murray and Daye are out gay men. 
Crowe has worked as a nurse and educator since her early 20s. She holds four honorary doctorates, which she received in recognition of her work as a nurse and with homelessness. She founded the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee, which advocates for affordable housing as part of a solution to homelessness.
Campaign volunteer coordinator Chy Ryan Spain says Crowe’s commitment to social justice is what convinced him to get involved.
“Getting behind a candidate committed to social justice and addressing poverty and homelessness is important to me, especially as I’m a landed immigrant and can’t vote,” he says.
That sentiment is echoed by Farshad Azadian, co-chair of the Toronto Young New Democrats.
“Life is getting harder for young people around the world. That’s why the NDP was so popular in the last [federal] election. We’re going to build on that this time,” he says.

[NOTE: This is a corrected version of this story. The original version incorrectly stated that Ellen Michelson is the Green Party candidate instead of Mark Daye. Xtra regrets the error.]