So, what happened during the 2014 mayoral election’s first televised debate?

So, what happened during the 2014 mayoral election's first televised debate?
(Image: CityNews/Screenshot)

Last night’s CityNews mayoral debate was the first opportunity for 2014’s mayoral candidates to interact with one another on television. It was, in more ways than one, a mess. The format was a free-for-all, with short opening statements from each of the candidates followed by no-moderation shouting matches on general topics like “transit” and “leadership.” This way of doing things tended to reward loud voices and feigned indignation, which happen to be two of Rob Ford’s strengths. And so it’s not particularly surprising that most of the post-debate analysis has focused on how unexpectedly well he did, considering, you know, all the stuff. Nobody even mentioned crack until more than an hour in.

There were a few opportunities for pre-selected journalists to pose questions to the candidates of their choice, but by and large very little actual policy emerged from the fray. That much isn’t entirely CityNews’s fault: it’s still relatively early in the campaign and none of the candidates have finalized their platforms yet.

Even so, there were some good parts. Here are some of them:

Most-vicious burns:

“You’ve let the citizens of this city down. You’ve let the reputation of this city down. Maybe you’d like to address that. (Tory, to Ford)

“I don’t really need to take any lessons from you, because we’re not on the golf course right now.” (Chow, to Tory)

“How could you get away with all this crazy lying? Because there’s not truth.” (Chow, to Ford)

“John, you had your chance at the province and you fell flat on your face. You know it and I know it.” (Ford, referencing Tory’s time as leader of the Ontario PC party)

Most-derisive mentions of David Miller:

“I was proud to lead a group of councillors against the irresponsible spending of David Miller. In this election, voters will have a choice, and we need to make sure that we do not go back.” (Stintz)

“David Soknaki, you were part of Team Miller, as were you, Olivia. And we heard loud and clear in the last election that voters wanted change. They didn’t like those NDP spending practices.” (Stintz)

“David [Soknacki], everybody knows you were David Miller’s budget chief. You increased spending more than any budget chief ever has*.” (Ford)

*There’s no obvious basis for the assertion that D-Soks was a spendthrift during his time as budget chief. Spending hikes during his tenure were in line with what has happened under other budget chiefs since amalgamation.

Ways the candidates are just like you and me:

“Where I come from, we make 50 cents do a dollars’ worth of work.” (Soknacki)

“My family moved to Toronto when I was 13. My mother couldn’t find a job as a schoolteacher, so she worked in a hotel and then in a laundry department. We worked hard to make ends meet, so I know the value of the dollar.” (Chow)

“As a mom with two kids, and ten years on council, I’ve learned a lot about our city.” (Stintz)

Reasons Rob Ford doesn’t deserve to be reelected:

“Rob Ford wants to waste a billion dollars on his transit plan in Scarborough.” (Chow)

“Whatever he’s done in the past three years—and that’s a subject of great debate—he’s run out of gas. He’s not able to get anything through the city council anymore.” (Tory)

“He is really not a good role model for my grandchildren, or your kids.” (Chow)

Face Rob Ford makes when confronted with the fact that he hasn’t actually saved the city “a billion dollars” during his mayoralty:


Best dressed:


Olivia Chow, with the CN Tower on her shirt.

Number of times Karen Stintz said the word “John” before successfully interrupting John Tory mid-sentence:


Time before Rob Ford was forced to explain his behaviour by saying “I’m not perfect”:

One hour and nine minutes, and only when asked about his crack scandal by a journalist on the debate’s expert panel.


Sign up for This City, our free newsletter about everything that matters right now in Toronto politics, sports, business, culture, society and more.

By signing up, you agree to our terms of use and privacy policy.
You may unsubscribe at any time.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


The Latest

Everything to eat at Waterworks Food Hall, the new 55,000 square-foot, European-style destination for gourmet bites
Food & Drink

Everything to eat at Waterworks Food Hall, the new 55,000 square-foot, European-style destination for gourmet bites