Latest mayoral debate features duelling Roccos, melanin and group shouting at Rob Ford

Latest mayoral debate features duelling Roccos, melanin and group shouting at Rob Ford

Mayoral candidate Rocco Achampong (Image:

Last night’s mayoral debate at St. Lawrence Hall featured the first new face since Rob Ford entered the race: candidate Rocco Achampong. The 31-year-old former U of T student president was given a chance to speak at the debate to fill the vacancy left by Giorgio Mammoliti, who dropped out of the race oh so long ago. Achampong isn’t new to the race, of course, but this was the most prominent stage on which he’s had to make his pitch to the people of Toronto thus far. Achampong joined the leading five candidates at one of Toronto’s most historic buildings. How did last night’s debate stack up? Amusingly, if various reports are to be believed.

There was moderator Paul Bedford‘s solemn command that those who love their city ought to “make passionate love to [their] city.” There was Sarah Thomson‘s apparent confusion over what, exactly, Jane’s Walk is. And then there was Rob Ford asking, “Do you really want to spend $45 million outside city hall?” perhaps forgetting that he was in a room full of heritage nerds in downtown Toronto. Ford was apparently a little flustered when the crowd shouted back “Yes!” in unison.

Only slightly more amusing was the open laughter when Ford (whom the National Post describes as having a “rap sheet…longer than the rest of yesterday’s debaters’ combined”) promised a scandal-free city hall. Specifically, Ford promised city hall would be cleaner than a brand new dollar bill. Of course, Canada hasn’t had a brand new dollar bill in almost a quarter-century, and the cleanliness of the last one printed is difficult to determine.

The most common review of Achampong’s performance is basically that he had a hard time sticking to his time limits—but having watched other debates, he’s hardly the only one guilty of that. Aside from that, the reviews were pretty positive. Maybe they’ll let him in on one of the big televised debates next.

Mayoral candidates face off on heritage [Globe and Mail]
• Mayoral candidates debate over heritage conservation [National Post]
• Mayoral candidates debate heritage [Toronto Sun]