Jul 16, 2014

By Jane Brown

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It was a raucous Toronto mayoral debate inside and outside a hall on Markham Road in Scarborough last night.  The event was hosted by the Canadian Tamil Congress.

Supporters of Rob Ford clashed with opponents as Toronto’s embattled mayor took part in his first debate since returning from rehab two weeks ago.  During the debate, those competing voices were heard every time the mayor spoke.

Rob Ford, John Tory

“I am the king of helping people at Toronto Community Housing,” Ford told the crowd as people cheered.  Ford also claimed to be the king of subways – a reference to his successful plan to extend the Bloor-Danforth subway farther into Scarborough.  Both Ford and rival candidate John Tory took a lot of heat from their opponents.  Karen Stintz said to Tory, “I don’t think you’ve ever been at city hall, so I don’t understand how you think you’re in the best position to bring consensus and get things done, when in fact, you have no track record of such.”  Tory responded, “if the 11 years you and others have spent have been so terrific in getting things done, why do we have a traffic congestion crisis?  Why don’t we have any transit?”

John Tory also questioned Rob Ford about his claims of saving the taxpayers’ money.  “I will say that on your watch we saw the Sony Centre go tens of thousands of dollars over budget.  We saw the Nathan Phillips Square upgrade go tens of millions of dollars over budget, Union Station tens of millions of dollars over budget.  Project after project after project, on your watch, when you’re the mayor, the man who says he’s got everything under control.  We know what you were doing, and it wasn’t managing the taxpayers’ money down at city hall.”

Candidate Olivia Chow encouraged voters to “join me in firing him.” She was also criticized for her office budget spending while a city councillor and an MP.

The municipal election is on October 27th.


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