Bubbes and zaydes treated to spicier-than-normal mayoral election debate
With the news out yesterday about Rob Ford‘s idea of a romantic weekend away, it was a sure bet that there would be fireworks the next time all five front-running candidates got together. Sadly for Ford, the next time was two hours after his press conference ended. Courtesy of the Association of Jewish Seniors, the candidates got down to business mercilessly slagging each other. As Ford leapt into his prepared statement—“Ladies and gentlemen, I’m a man you can trust”—there was audible laughter from the skeptical sexagenarians.
The feistiness didn’t end there, according to the Star:
After hearing the debate, Bess Coopersmith said she thinks she will be supporting Ford come Oct. 25, because while she is “not crazy about any of them,” the 92-year-old likes the idea of cost-cutting. And as for the arrest, Coopersmith only heard about it on the radio that morning and said she wasn’t sure if she cared, since it happened a decade ago.
If someone needed a clearer demonstration of how Rob Ford has managed to gain the front-runner status of the race, this is it: even 92-year-old women are basically unmoved when they learn of Ford’s criminal charges, because everyone onstage is, by their lights, so unimpressive.
The debate itself was notable for more than the usual acrimony: Ford said he was surprised George Smitherman “had the audacity” to run for mayor after the eHealth scandal, and Smitherman shot back, saying he’s happy to have a debate about trustworthiness against Ford. Ford also emphasized he’s a “family man,” which some candidates took as a shot against them—especially Smitherman, who has a decidedly 21st-century Canadian family.
About the only non-shouting news to come out of the debate was Smitherman’s idea of putting more power in the hands of community councils, an idea he calls “deamalgamation, in a sense.” This might be the first proposal from Smitherman that all parts of Toronto can get behind: 10 years after Mike Harris unified Toronto, isn’t this big urban family still pretty dysfunctional?