Doug Ford joined candidates John Tory and Olivia Chow at York Memorial Collegiate Institute for his first debate on Sept. 23.
The candidates answered questions surrounding issues such as the welfare system, and the spike in deaths of young, black males. However, the main issue of the night, was the transit debate.
Ford explained his plans to build new subway lines, while Tory promoted his SmartTrack transit plan.
Olivia Chow made sure to show her disapproval of Tory’s transit plan saying, “how many homes is he going to bulldoze?”
At one point, Tory had to interrupt Ford and Chow to remind them that they were supposed to be answering a question about city council, not transit.
Doug Ford, who recently replaced his brother Rob on the Oct. 27 ballot, had many wondering if he could hold his own at a debate. While there were multiple disputes among the candidates, most of them were between Ford and front-runner John Tory.
Ford called Tory a “slick talking politician,” and at one point started quizzing Tory on how City Hall works. Ford said that Tory’s inability to answer his questions showed his “lack of experience.”
At one point, Ford even pulled out his cellphone and told Tory to call the mayor to get the answers to the questions. He also mentioned that, “no mayor has ever been elected without first sitting on city council.”
But John Tory fought back by pointing out Ford’s poor attendance record. “Any job that I’ve had, I at least turned up to work more than 30 per cent of the time,” Tory said.
Ford continued the fiery remarks by saying to Tory, “I know you are used to getting everything handed to you on a silver platter.”
Tory was later asked how he would work with others. “Maybe I’ll start by saying what I won’t do,” Tory quipped. “I will not call my colleagues on the city council ‘monkeys’ as Mr. Ford did.”
Olivia Chow had to regularly shout over Ford and Tory, commenting that they were not good role models.
While the debate was heated, the crowd was even more so. Within only minutes of the debate starting, police had to remove a woman who was yelling and being disruptive.
The debate was frequently stalled and police had to give the crowd multiple noise warnings. At one point earlier in the debate, Chow tried to continue a statement, but gave up and said, “I don’t think I can do this.”
As this was Ford’s debut, many wondered if he could hold his own with the other councilors. Jose Ramon Gutierrez, one of the spectators, believes that Ford did a better job than many people thought he would for his first debate.
“I think Doug was surprising…. a lot of people were having low expectations….” Gutierrez said, “I think he really came out swinging greatly.”