Toronto mayoral debate

Ford and Chow own messy first Toronto mayoral debate

Olivia Chow and John Tory came out swinging in the first Toronto mayoral debate of the 2014 campaign, but it was Rob Ford's bombastic steamroller approach that dominated the discussion. The five candidates sparred over the Scarborough subway, downtown relief line, the city's finances, and what makes good leadership with Stintz and Soknacki struggling to make their voices heard.

Surprisingly, none of the candidates took Ford to task over the crack cocaine scandal or any of the other allegations contained in recently released court documents. During questions from the media, Cynthia Mulligan from CityNews asked Ford to directly address the controversies. "People have heard the story - it's rewind, rewind, rewind," he said. "I'm the first one to say I'm not perfect."

Jimmy Kimmel, who was apparently watching the debate, said Ford was like JFK compared to some of the candidates.

"John, you had your chance at the province and you fell flat on your face, you know it and I know it," Ford said to Tory in one of the debate's more heated exchanges. Earlier, Ford said Chow had "sunk the ship" during her time on city council.

The debate was frequently chaotic with the candidates yelling over each other.

Chow said Ford had made Toronto "an international embarrassment" and pledged to "take down the circus tent at City Hall." John Tory said Ford had "run out of gas" after four years in the mayor's office.

A Soknacki team post-debate press release said their candidate brought "a calculator to a knife fight."

The results of rough CityNews poll suggested Olivia Chow had won the debate with 43 per cent of votes cast by the public during the broadcast. Rob Ford was second on 34 per cent and John Tory third with 19. Stintz and Soknacki - 3 and 2 per cent respectively - barely registered.

What did you think of the debate? Were you surprised by Ford's dominance? Should the other candidates use the crack cocaine scandal in the next debate? Who do you think came out on top?

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


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