Near the end of the mayoral debate at Regent Park on October 8, each candidate was asked to say something positive about another.
“Well, Mr. Tory has nice-kept hair,” said Chow, after a speech of genuine positivity about her from Goldkind. “He can talk fast; pretty smooth. And he has an amazing phonebook. A good rolodex, and that’s also important. Those are the three areas I can say about Mr. Tory—”
She elicited boos and outraged comments from the crowd. She went on to soften her answer, praising Tory’s charitable works.
The Regent Park debate focused on issues relevant to the area, such as income inequality and affordable housing. John Tory, Olivia Chow, and Ari Goldkind answered questions at Ada Slaight Hall at 7 p.m. Doug Ford had bowed out at the last minute to attend the Leafs game.
“The dynamic in the room, I think, will be very civil,” quipped Goldkind.
Goldking, a long-shot candidate currently hovering around 3% in polls, began the debate by urging the audience to ignore candidates’ personalities and to focus on the platforms themselves.
“Everybody, when you’re listening to this, whether you’re in Ms. Chow’s camp or Mr. Tory’s camp or Mr. Ford’s camp and you’re asking yourself a question—the first question should be, where is the money going to come from? And I invite you to look at each of our platforms and satisfy yourself to the answer. Because I explain where the money will come from.”
Goldkind proposed a property tax increase of 50 cents per day in order to curb income inequality. Many of Tory’s proposed solutions to income gaps and food insecurity centred around the need to increase jobs and to support businesses in their efforts to increase jobs.
Chow took many opportunities over the course of the debate to make jabs at Tory for his ties to big business.
“Mr. Tory is all about calling friends,” she said in response to his plan to help businesses create jobs. “And Mr. Tory has been at the helm of big businesses for a long time. And I don’t know why he wasn’t picking up the phone and calling his friends and creating jobs.”
The candidates were asked whether they’d help provide dental care to those who couldn’t afford it.
“I try to be very honest with people about things that I think we can afford to do, and those that I think we can’t,” Tory said. “And if you said to me, Do I think right at this point in the city’s history, can we afford to be launching a new initiative beyond the ones that exist today…? I would say the answer to that is no.”
“If you listened very carefully, Mr. Tory just said there’s nothing much he can do,” Chow said in response. “That’s what you just heard. And he said the youth unemployment rates have gone up, and he’s been making phone calls, but I don’t know whether his phone is working. More young people are unemployed now. If it’s just about calling your friends and creating jobs, why has the youth unemployment rate gone up in the last four years?”
The acerbic battle between Chow and Tory was tempered by Goldkind.
“Let’s leave personalities aside,” he said. “These are all people who care about the city.”
In the final question, he went on to praise Chow by suggesting she’s more than she appears. He said he believes Chow believes the same things he does deep down—that the city needs an increase in revenue—but that saying so would ruin her chances of being elected.
“This is the reason I’m saying Ms. Chow does care; she knows these things; she knows we’re not a broke city; she wants to make people’s lives better; she cares about youth, she cares about children, she cares about seniors and anybody who’s not Ms. Chow, and she’ll tell you that herself. I’ve gone up to her personally and said ‘You don’t have to take that crap.'”
Tory’s praise for Goldkind was more tepid, complimenting him for his professional sacrifice by choosing to run for mayor.