Toronto’s former police chief and mayoral candidate Mark Saunders positioned himself as the only alternative to stop former NDP MP Olivia Chow from becoming mayor, as the campaign enters its final two weeks. 

Saunders, who has campaigned on a moderate centre-right platform, has released several policy announcements contrasting himself with Chow on fighting crime in the city and decongesting Toronto’s crowded streets. 

Saunders has made a considerate push to portray the former NDP MP as a radical progressive who is incapable of keeping Torontonians safe and himself as the candidate voters and other candidates should rally behind.

“On one hand – there’s Olivia Chow. She’ll defund the police. She’ll raise your property taxes by at least 25%. She’ll ram bike lanes onto every single major street,” said Saunders.

“On the other hand – there’s me. I will fund the police. I will freeze taxes and I will get traffic moving.”

Specifically, Saunders slammed Chow for not having a plan to tackle the spike of car jackings in Toronto, her lack of funding for more police resources, and Chow’s inability cut the time it takes to report an auto theft.

“Olivia Chow hasn’t said how much she will cut the police budget, but we know she’s tried to defund the police her entire career as a professional politician,” said Saunders. 

“At a time when car jackings and thefts are on the rise, I will do whatever it takes to ensure our men and women in uniform have what they need to protect car owners and lock up car thieves.”

Saunders also announced that he would hire an additional 600 uniformed officers – 400 police officers, 200 TTC special constables –  in an effort to “reverse the rising tide of violence in Toronto.”

“As a long-time NDP politician, Olivia Chow has a deep hostility toward police, taking every opportunity to cut their budgets and make it harder for them to do their job,” said Saunders. 

Saunders also slammed Chow on her inability to ease the gridlock on the city’s roads, declaring that the way to stop traffic congestion in Toronto is to stop Chow.

“Mark Saunders is the only candidate who can stop Olivia’s Chow anti-car agenda and deliver a credible plan to fight congestion, including opening up King Street to all traffic while Queen Street is shut down,” reads a Saunders press release. 

Forum Research’s latest poll shows Saunders in a distant second place to the frontrunner Chow, reaching 14% support to Chow’s 35% support. Saunders’ position in second place isn’t safe though, as Anthony Furey and former deputy mayor Ana Bailão rest closely below Saunders at 11% and 10% support respectively. 

Furey is currently on leave as True North’s VP for editorial and content.