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Rob Ford returns to the debate circuit following rehab

Posted by Chris Bateman / July 16, 2014

rob ford debateRob Ford's first post-rehab debate saw the incumbent mayor return to his most popular (and contentious) talking points: subways, tax dollars, and spending, though this time it appeared his opponents were prepared for the script.

On transportation, Ford tried to position himself as the "transit mayor," saying that he had "built" the Scarborough subway (never mind that it's some way from actually being an active construction project) while David Soknacki tried to convince the crowd the fully-funded LRT was still the best option for the area. "It's not a fantasy plan," he said. "It's completely paid for, ladies and gentlemen."

John Tory jumped at Ford's pledge to watch every tax dollar, criticizing the mayor for being at the helm during budget overruns at Union Station and Nathan Phillips Square renovations. Karen Stintz, a Scarborough subway advocate like Tory, focused on traffic congestion.

Ford also declared himself the "king" of helping residents of Toronto Community Housing. In the past, the mayor has toured TCHC buildings. Ford was a supporter of ousted community housing CEO Eugene Jones.

The debate was held in a happy hunting ground for Ford, a Pentecostal church in Scarborough. The audience cheered the mayor's name at several points during the proceedings and laughed when he said he would have another "crack" at killing the land transfer tax. Outside, prior to the start of the event, Ford supporters and protestors argued heatedly.

You can re-watch the debate here. Who do you think came away strongest?

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.



Please / July 16, 2014 at 11:13 am
Don't let Chow win, for the love of Toronto
Mayor McCokehoover / July 16, 2014 at 11:19 am
All right, let's see what you've got, Ford.

And may the best candidate win.
Mayor McCokehoover replying to a comment from Please / July 16, 2014 at 11:22 am
"Don't let Chow win, for the love of Toronto "


Agreed. Let's let Chow win for the love of Toronto, the GTA, and for the entire region that is the province's (and country's) economic engine.
Um replying to a comment from Mayor McCokehoover / July 16, 2014 at 11:31 am
Not sure if this is sarcasm but Toronto, the GTA, and Ontario stopped being the country's economic engine for at least a decade now...
Mayor McCokehoover replying to a comment from Um / July 16, 2014 at 11:35 am
Okay Um...give me 2-3 links that back your opinion and I'll believe you aren't talking out your ass or, worse, a paid shill.

You have the floor.
astreal / July 16, 2014 at 11:44 am
Chow wants to build subways! Scarborough needs LRT. We don't have money for above ground subways, let alone for a armpit part of the city known as Scarborough.

She is no better then Ford!

Vote stinz as she wants LRT!!!
Chris replying to a comment from Um / July 16, 2014 at 11:51 am
Do some research before you spew. This region still accounts for a significant portion of the country's GDP - far more than any other city (and most provinces) in the country, so the engine analogy still holds.

While its true that the economies out west are growing at a faster rate, they're starting from a much, much smaller base - don't forget that Ontario has more people than Alberta, BC and Saskatchewan combined, and the GTA alone is bigger than Alberta and Saskatchewan combined. Our economy drawfs those out west by a significant amount, despite the rhetoric.

For all the talk of the Oil Sands, which is the primary basis for Alberta's current prosperity, it's still barely 2% of Canada's GDP. Toronto on the other hand, is around 10-11% - so yeah, this region is still very much the engine, as much as our friends out west (and the current federal government)would like to believe otherwise.

Ontario's hurting, but that pain is mostly being felt in Southwestern Ontario and in the North, or in any region that has been dependent on manufacturing - something which hasn't been relevant to Toronto's economy for years.
Um replying to a comment from Chris / July 16, 2014 at 11:56 am
Really didn't think that comment would draw such ire. I was referring to the vastly outdated and self important term of "economic engine" than any claim of GDP etc.
Serge / July 16, 2014 at 12:02 pm
Here's what we learned from last nights mayoral debate,

John Tory is a great speaker and great communicator

Rob Ford is a bad speaker but good communicator he still gets his points across and stayed on message the whole debate.

Olivia Chow is sub par and not good at debates at all. She stumbles and fumbles her way though it, constantly diverts the questions addressed at her from the other candidates. She did have a strong prepared opening statement but lost it as soon as the actual live debate started.
Rafa / July 16, 2014 at 12:04 pm
Tory was the clear winner to me last night. He is a great speaker and didn't stoop to the level of Chow re: attacking Ford, but did manage to get a good jab in.

Stintz was embarassing...not sure anyone can take her seriously.
Tim / July 16, 2014 at 12:08 pm
If you had to choose TORY won the debate last night followed closely by FORD.

I'm speaking purely on this one debate itself and their ability to get their points across and ability to debate, dish it out AND take if themselves from others without panic.
Anon replying to a comment from astreal / July 16, 2014 at 12:09 pm
astreal, you're incorrect (and what seems to be one of the most significant election issues). Chow wants to build LRTs for linking Scarborough. I call into question the depth of your research that you undertake before commenting.
Reese replying to a comment from Mayor McCokehoover / July 16, 2014 at 12:13 pm
An economic engine? I would say an economic provider, but at the same time digging itself deeper and deeper and deeper into debt.

Ontario carries more debt than any other province and instead of voting to get out of debt which we are just barely paying the interest on, Ontario voted for more carefree spending from Wynne.
SteveM / July 16, 2014 at 12:15 pm
It really seemed like the debate was designed around coddling Ford.

The debate cemented the fact that the best candidate for the job is Soknacki, but unfortunately he won't win because the majority of voters in the city are ignorant and uninformed.
DL replying to a comment from Chris / July 16, 2014 at 12:15 pm
Why even dignify such a baseless and stupid comment with a response?
DL replying to a comment from Tim / July 16, 2014 at 12:17 pm
I would agree.

I would also say that Chow look petrified when she spoke and got booed. The woman has the oratory of a grade schooler.
Mayor McCokehoover replying to a comment from Um / July 16, 2014 at 12:18 pm
No ire, Um (and no harm/no foul). It's just that if there is any silver lining to this whole Ford debacle, it's that it has woken up a lot of people who were taking politics/democracy for granted (myself included).

Now that we've had our version of George W. somehow slipping into office and making a mockery of things, I think people aren't going to be so complacent when the campaigns swing into high gear and let fly their armies of trolls and shills to gum up the works.

Say what you will about the Ontario election, but I think it was instructive: people give a shit again. Let's do the same with the October municipal election, and then let's knock some heads next year in the federal one, too.
R / July 16, 2014 at 12:19 pm
If you love crackheads - vote for Ford!
Crack for all!
Always trust a Crackhead with your money!
DL replying to a comment from Serge / July 16, 2014 at 12:19 pm
Tory tore Chow to shreds by describing her time in politics as time spent doing nothing but dividing and stalling. I think he realizes the only way he's going to win is by attracting centrists from Chow, because Ford is almost guaranteed 30% of the vote so long as he isn't arrested before the election.
Siva Thilagingham / July 16, 2014 at 12:35 pm
More disturbing than each incumbants debate was the gathering of Tamil Elam (Tamil Tigers) leaders standing next to Doug Ford in the pulpit at last nights debate. Is Rob Ford funding Tamil Tigers? Do Rob Fords supporters last night realize Tamil Tigers is a terrorist organization? Perhaps Tamil Tigers are funding Rob Fords campaign? Canada should not tolerate terrorists mixing into local Toronto politics. Someone has to write about the Tamil Tigers and Rob/Doug Ford connection.
Siva Thilagingham / July 16, 2014 at 12:35 pm
More disturbing than each incumbants debate was the gathering of Tamil Elam (Tamil Tigers) leaders standing next to Doug Ford in the pulpit at last nights debate. Is Rob Ford funding Tamil Tigers? Do Rob Fords supporters last night realize Tamil Tigers is a terrorist organization? Perhaps Tamil Tigers are funding Rob Fords campaign? Canada should not tolerate terrorists mixing into local Toronto politics. Someone has to write about the Tamil Tigers and Rob/Doug Ford connection.
Ya / July 16, 2014 at 12:37 pm
I never understood why Chow was so anti-Ford. Ford voters will not jump to her, but to Tory.

She should try and poach from everyone but Ford.
Mister LJ / July 16, 2014 at 12:37 pm
This was a terrible debate. The whole thing felt amateurish and like siblings bickering with each other.
Chow: couldn't get a single thought out without dumping on Rob Ford. Without him to heckle, she has almost nothing.
Ford: couldn't stop lying to save his life. He said nothing of any substance all night, only relying on his past (falsified) accomplishments and rhetoric.
Soknacki: has nowhere near enough stage presence to be mayor or hold his own in a debate. That said, he made some decent points. He lacks confidence and authority.
Stintz: It was like she was in a pageant. She is her own cheerleader with no real substance herself. Her whole, "who do you trust?" thing was a major catastrophe.
Tory: The only one who stayed on point. He is well spoken and trustworthy. The only one with the authority and capability to be our mayor, if you ask me.
Um replying to a comment from Mayor McCokehoover / July 16, 2014 at 12:41 pm
I definitely agree with you on that point!
Mayor McCokehoover / July 16, 2014 at 12:44 pm
Admit it, it would be kinda awesome if Soknacki somehow snuck up the middle between the (admittedly lackluster) other candidates and squeaked in??

Toronto could use some highly competitent (if dull) leaders right now.

# / July 16, 2014 at 12:59 pm
Kate / July 16, 2014 at 01:02 pm
A Soknacki win would indeed be awesome. He seems to be the one with ideas instead of simple talking points. Who cares if he's not charismatic - none of the others are especially commanding, either. I feel sorry for Stinz; she came off as a shrieky school girl.

As for the Canadian Tamil Congress being a front, well, they successfully sued the last person who suggested that
LL Beenderedonedat replying to a comment from Mister LJ / July 16, 2014 at 01:04 pm
Mister LJ, I share most of your opinion on how the debate went.

Chow was flailing badly, and her grammar was surprisingly poor. She should not have stood on that suitcase behind the podium, it added to the disingenuous impression she made. She should quiet down about respectability and drug use, given her own history of marijuana use and her husband's incident at the rub 'n tug.

Ford did not offer anything new, but he had some real zingers against Chow. He seems to have lost a bit of his goove post-rehab.

Socknacki was like a dead fish and could not not stimulate any reaction from the audience. His ambition for the city is weak. His association with Miller is a dealbreaker for me.

Stintz actually seemed like she could really appeal to younger voters. I was surprised by this. She expresses the most vision for Toronto and has optimism that the other candidates lack. However she is a flip-flopper on transit issues.

Tory was a good speaker, but perhaps too slick to appeal to the average voter. Plus, for me, his history of backing funding for all faith-based schools (say, like the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster!) is a deal-breaker. How could anyone think that was a good idea for longer than 5 seconds!
duder replying to a comment from Reese / July 16, 2014 at 01:04 pm
In case you're wondering:

-Ontarians hold approximately 44% of all financial wealth in Canada ($1.3 trillion and Ontario is home to 37 of the top 100 employer pension funds in Canada.In aggregate, Ontarians hold 52.6% of pension fund assets nationally.

-75% of the total volume (189.2 billion shares) and 98% of the total value ($2.3 trillion) traded on Canadian equity marketplaces was traded on an Ontario-based marketplace. Volume traded in Ontario continues to show strong growth, up 11% in 2011 from the previous year.

-Toronto ranks tenth globally as a financial centre, and the TSX is the eighth largest equity exchange in the world by market capitalization, at $1.9 trillion. More than 350,000 people are employed in the financial services sector in Ontario, accounting for 47% of financial services employment nationally.

There's more if you like.
Michael replying to a comment from Davy Gravy / July 16, 2014 at 01:26 pm
For a second I actually thought you were serious. I'm not sure if that's a reflection of my irony detector not working, or the universal stupidity of Fraud... Fuck... RoFo voters (sorry I cannot bring myself to type a last name that starts with F that's four letters long.)

"I'm sensing a hot-diggity-doggity-Robbity-bobbity seismic shift in the race now that Rob is back from the greatest rehab stint ever undertaken by a mayor!! He hit the ground running and he's ready to rumble,..."

Anyway thanks for the laugh, the thought that this imbecile is polling above single digits, well I need a laugh right now.
Grant replying to a comment from Kate / July 16, 2014 at 01:52 pm
Another Socknacki convert. Pragmatism trumps charisma!
Reese replying to a comment from duder / July 16, 2014 at 02:04 pm
You're speaking to wealth while I'm speaking to debt, two very different things which you may be aware.

As of September 30, 2013 the Ontario government's total debt stood at CDN$288.10 billion. The interest on the debt was CDN$10.3 billion for the 2012-2013 Ontario budget at an effective interest rate of 4%. It represented 8.4% of the total budgetary expenses and is the fastest-rising cost for the Ontario government. The Debt-to-GDP ratio in 2013 was 37.4%, the highest in Ontario's history.

Ontario's credit rating has been downgraded due to its debt, thus increasing the borrowing costs even further.

While Ontario accounts for just under 40 per cent of the country’s population, it accounts for almost 50 per cent of provincial net debt.

Fran replying to a comment from Michael / July 16, 2014 at 02:05 pm
Get a room!
Irwin Mimico's Mommy / July 16, 2014 at 02:08 pm
I would like to ask Davy Gravy et al to stop posting funny (I peed my big girl panties!) but mean comments about my Irwin. My boy has a crush on Mr. Ford and is president of MBARF*, so he mindlessly supports Mayor Useless. Please be kind to Irwin and his cement-filled colon!

*Mimico Boys Adoring Rob Ford
mar replying to a comment from SteveM / July 16, 2014 at 02:13 pm
Could not agree more. every debate I lose more respect for Chow; who up until last night I really wanted to vote. Both Tory and Chow seem to want to make this election about Ford. The last election was about Ford and he won. Not saying he stands a chance this time but can we please make this election about Toronto and not Ford? Soknacki has been the best candidate from go but because he doesn't scream like the rest of the babies he is sadly drowned out. at this point I think Tory has it. I'm really hoping Soknacki picks up momentum over whats left of the summer as he makes the most sense by far and is the only one of the candidates that is a centrist which is what this polarized city desperately needs
Are you Robbie? replying to a comment from duder / July 16, 2014 at 02:15 pm
You sound like Ford throwing all the big positive numbers around and avoiding to look at the negative side at all.
#Fail / July 16, 2014 at 02:17 pm
Olivia Chow calls for a ban on debates!
McRib replying to a comment from Um / July 16, 2014 at 02:33 pm
it drew ire because it was wrong yet you stated it as fact.

weird, huh?
PeeWee / July 16, 2014 at 02:43 pm
Chow is the worst candidate for the job....... these debates just prove that her supporters are as blind as the so called "Ford Nation". People use your brains when casting a vote!
duder replying to a comment from Reese / July 16, 2014 at 03:28 pm
You are incorrect that I'm speaking about wealth only. I'm speaking about Ontario's economic power relative to the rest of Canada. You and others have asserted that Toronto/Ontario is no longer the economic engine of Canada, which is absolutely false.

I'm not trying to argue that a Liberal government is good for the province, nor am I arguing that Ontario's debt isn't a major concern (it absolutely, urgently is). What I AM saying, though, is that Ontario - particularly the GTA - is the economic engine that drives the Canadian economy. Without that engine, Canada would not even fit into the G20.
duder replying to a comment from Are you Robbie? / July 16, 2014 at 03:32 pm
This is actually the dumbest thing I've read all day. These are actual facts (I can back them up) that paint a fairly clear picture: that Ontario and the GTA are the financial heart of the Canadian economy. There is plenty of negative news: the downgrading of our credit rating (as alluded to earlier), mass layoffs in the manufacturing industry, etc.

But the song remains the same: Ontario and the GTA are the economic engine of Canada (no thanks to idiots like Rob Ford).
Jacob / July 16, 2014 at 03:43 pm
I see the John Tory astroturfing campaign has ramped-up.
Tory it is! replying to a comment from Jacob / July 16, 2014 at 04:14 pm
Yes all campaigns have ramped-up. Funny how showing support is called astroturfing, but jump up and down in Rob Fords face with your shirt off and your a hero. Let me support Tory. Thank you very much.
Jacob replying to a comment from Tory it is! / July 16, 2014 at 04:27 pm
It's the occurrence of similar sounding "John Tory sounds like a winner to me!" posts all within a few minutes of each other that reeks of astroturfing.
Irwin Mimico / July 16, 2014 at 06:05 pm
Mayor Ford was the clear winner last night. He kept calm while being personally attacked about his private life. I have even less respect for Olivia Chow after yesterday. Hey Mr. Blogto troller/employee, did you see all the supporters of Mr. Ford who came out? The support will get even stronger! Get ready for Ford more years!
Davy Gravy replying to a comment from Irwin Mimico / July 16, 2014 at 06:37 pm
Irwin! At last!

As much as I've enjoyed reading about the debate and going through the different comments here, it just didn't feel right without your phantasmagorical, possibly drug-induced fantasy version of how it all went down. Now the day is truly complete.

Your mom's looking for you upthread, BTW.
Sal / July 16, 2014 at 06:40 pm
Tory is getting my vote. Can't wait till the next poll results come out.
kn / July 16, 2014 at 07:23 pm
I can only hope tory wins, so I don't have to see Ford spewing garbage out of his pie hole and Chow runs for the Fed NDP and beats Adam Vaughan in my riding. I don't like Chow but not nearly as much as I don't like that big liar Adam Vaughan. Thanks again for ruining Alexandra park again Adam!!!
Irwin Mimico's Mommy / July 16, 2014 at 07:26 pm
Irwin! Are you still extremely constipated ? Drat that cement dust! Can Mr. Ford help unplug you again? He did return your phone call that once. Now, I know the cement dust makes you hallucinate but Mr. Ford has better things to do than be mayor. Irwin, Mr. Ford and I have something to tell you...about your ancestry. So come'll be a big surprise!
Diatribe / July 16, 2014 at 07:56 pm
Olivia needs to decide what she's going to do for her future (well maybe not she's getting her own pension and Jacks) but either way. Tory has had his talk radio show for the past 5 years which has kept him on the pulse of the city and the radio station would surely have him back. Rob has enough in the bank and could work at Decco labels if needed.

Olivia has been out of touch with the actual pulse of the city for a long time which is why she has to keep referring back to immigrating here in 1970. All respect to that but alot has changed since the 70's which is your main talking point about why your relevant. What's she gonna do back out? Run for council? Run in the federal election? She's a career politician where can she go?
Randy / July 16, 2014 at 09:14 pm
WOW how many more of these debates do we have?
Chow needs to go to toastmasters or some public speaking classes asap before the next one.
But wait, Karen Stintz spent $4,500 of her councillors office budget on voice lessons back in 2009, and didn't seem to help her either. Damn is there any hope left for Chow?
Dougie!!! / July 16, 2014 at 09:18 pm
Check this photo out from 2013
Put on the sok... / July 16, 2014 at 09:30 pm
...naki! Sell the Ford on Kijiji, Chow down, Tory too Whore-y. Fourteen words that say it all. Oh, and FIM*!

*Fuck Irwin Mimico
Jacob / July 17, 2014 at 12:02 am
I'd rather Soknacki win.

He knows what he's doing. Get all these attention-seeking people out of the picture...

(But as a realist, I know he has a snowball's chance.)
Matt / July 17, 2014 at 07:28 am
Soknacki FTW!
Stu / July 17, 2014 at 07:43 am
Chow still has this, she's in the lead, one debate doesn't mean shyte
SASHA / July 17, 2014 at 08:36 am
Ummm Chow does not have this in the bag. If the campaign period was only a few weeks maybe but luckily for a long drawn out race her true colors are starting to shine through.
Movement for Soknacki-Wear a Shirt/Tie / July 17, 2014 at 11:06 am
Preferably with lots of starch & demonstrate like the Shirtless Anti-Ford Horde. At the rate The Sok is gaining (1/10%/day), he will 2018. Tell your neighbour to vote Sok Oct. 27!
Steve replying to a comment from SASHA / July 17, 2014 at 11:11 am
Agreed. Chow doesn't have this at all BUT don't count her out.
Anti-Ford Horde / July 17, 2014 at 03:14 pm
Enuf' said! FIM
Agreed! / July 17, 2014 at 03:15 pm
Dan replying to a comment from Agreed! / July 17, 2014 at 04:02 pm
Ahhhh followers. Careful what you wish for. Think for yourselves.
Sok Man Doesn't Smell! / July 18, 2014 at 02:16 am
Pull up your Sok! FIM!
Taher / July 18, 2014 at 04:09 am
Debate is always treated as one of the best way of learning something in a better way. its great to learn something new in this manner. nice post.

Guitar Lessons
Farjana / July 18, 2014 at 04:13 am
There are many option of learning from hearing. Debate is one of the item that people always want to hear and learn from the expert personnel. thanks for nice post and nice sharing.

2 stupid posts! / July 18, 2014 at 07:32 am
Taher/Fartjana are senile diapered lunatics. FIM
Irwin Mimico's Fave Troller/Employee / July 18, 2014 at 07:18 pm
Irwin, do you have a crush on me? Your reasoning is specious, as usual as I'm neither troll nor employee. I'm just smarter than you are.
Unplug Irwin Mimico's Colon Now! / July 19, 2014 at 11:02 am
High colonic time for MBARF'S President! Irwin: it'll hurt, but you will feel better!
Eric replying to a comment from Please / July 20, 2014 at 02:46 pm
To Please = let me guess, you're a white middle-aged man who lives in the burbs, who is disturbed by a woman in power not to mention a 'non-white' one leader.
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