May 16, 2023
By Jane Brown
As the frontrunner in the Toronto mayoral campaign, Olivia Chow found herself the target of the 4 other candidates in Monday night’s debate hosted by the Daily Bread Food Bank.
(From left to right, Ana Bailao, Brad Bradford, Josh Matlow, Mitzie Hunter, Olivia Chow)
The conversation focused on affordability, food insecurity and poverty.
But the debate turned to concerns that Chow would raise property taxes to an unaffordable level.
Ana Bailao tried to make this point in an exchange with the former Toronto city councillor and federal member of parliament.
“You’ve already indicated you will be raising tax to fund your proposals. The city is also with a $1.5-billion budget hole. That would require a 39-percent property tax increase, so with an affordability crisis, how do you justify increasing taxes?” Bailao asked Chow.
“I am not a person who would behind closed doors negotiate some deal because it doesn’t work. We’re seeing it not work. That’s why we’re in a budget hole,” Chow lashed back.
Chow later added that massive tax hikes are not her style and said she is aware that many people in the city who own a home may be house poor and can’t necessarily afford higher taxes.
Others were also on the defensive. Josh Matlow was targeted by Brad Bradford.
“Josh Matlow’s plan is off by a factor of 10. He says he’ll deliver 15,000 units. The math works out to a measly 1500. This guy has made a career of opposing housing in mid-town,” to which Matlow responded to Bradford by saying, “This is how they do it in Vienna. They’ve done it over a hundred years. The market rents will have rent control. We’re actually going to be able to move forward with a substantive plan that is proven, that can work and will actually see money to fund this.”
One of the leading candidates declined an invitation to take part in Monday’s debate. Mark Saunders said he had a conflict with another event. He took a couple of shots from fellow candidates for not attending.
Most of the candidates are back on the campaign trail with announcements.
Of note for Zoomers, Josh Matlow plans to make an announcement on what he calls a bold vision for an age-friendly city for seniors.
Scheduled for 10am, it’s taking place at St. Matthew’s Bracondale House seniors residence at St. Clair and Christie.