rob ford debate

Rob Ford returns to the debate circuit following rehab

Rob 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.


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