Mayoral debate quickly turns to garbage

Mayoral debate quickly turns to garbage

Insert metaphor here

Last night, there was what felt like the 2,036,025,698th debate between the six major candidates to replace David Miller. This one was hosted by CP24 and set itself apart by being televised. Given that previous debates have touched on such hot-button topics as God and the TTC, we thought that the candidates might want to take a break from incendiary topics and debate things in a calm, rational manner. We were wrong. Apparently, they’d prefer to re-fight last year’s garbage strike.

The Globe and Mail reports:

Nobody came out smelling good, conceded Joe Pantalone, deputy mayor in David Miller’s administration since 2003.

“You were the mayor’s right-hand man,” candidate George Smitherman reminded Pantalone during the two-hour debate on CP24. “Parks were turned into garbage dumps. You subjected us to a lost summer.”

To be fair, Toronto’s “lost summer” was also due to terrible weather—even George Smitherman can’t argue that the deputy mayor could block out the sun (the Star gently calls him “diminutive”). The wackiness continued as Rocco Rossi and Giorgio Mammoliti traded barbs over their job histories: Rossi has been a bit of a wanderer, and Mammoliti has had only one job for 20 years (as a city councillor).

The oddest moment in the debate may very well have been at the beginning, when candidates were asked to share a personal detail. The Star reports that Smitherman spoke of a non-specific hockey injury, Rossi and Pantalone reminded us that they’re proud of their Italian heritage, and Ford (yes, again) mentioned his football coaching. Sarah Thomson told a cute little story: she was apparently practising a speech at home, and her son asked to whom she was speaking. She said, “I’m talking to the next mayor of Toronto, honey.”

The candidate didn’t specify if, when looking in the mirror that day, she saw Rob Ford or George Smitherman.

• Mayoral candidates square off in televised debate [Toronto Star]
• Smitherman attacks Pantalone over garbage strike [Globe and Mail]
Transit tops debate agenda [National Post]

Images: garbage strike, Martin Reis from the Flickr pool; Pantalone, Mammoliti, Ford,; Rossi, Rocco Rossi; Smitherman, OldTownGuy; Thomson, Joey Schwartz.