The First 2006 Toronto Mayoral Debate

I arrived about thirty minutes early for last night’s debate, which was fortunate, since by the time things got going it was standing room only in the Innis College auditorium.

Of the currently thirty people running for Mayor of Toronto, only two were invited to participate in the debate: His Worship (we’ve got to get rid of that title) Mayor David Miller, and Councillor Jane Pitfield. I suppose the thinking was that they’re currently the only two “serious candidates” running. Well, Jane may have tested that assumption.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that everything Jane Pitfield says is crazy, nor do I agree with everything David Miller says or does. But good gosh, is she even listening to herself? Here are some of my personal highlights from last night:

  • Jane opposes the closing of streets for community events. She’d create a designated space in the city where all street fairs and community fairs are to take place. (I’m assuming we’d re-name “Taste of the Danforth” to “Taste of Designated Community Area 29.”)
  • Jane helped create Car-Free Kensington. (Wait…what? Doesn’t that involve closing streets?)
  • Jane knows homelessness is a big problem in this city because of “the look on tourists’ faces.” Also, we need to make homelessness illegal because it inconveniences business people. (Those honestly seemed to be her main concerns.)
  • New York fought homelessness AND was attacked on 9/11. So there.
  • Toronto should be creating local jobs. Also, we should buy our subway cars from China.
  • The city is spending too much money. Also, we need to spend more money.
  • Our surplus is way too high. Also, our debt is way too high.
  • Staff morale is very low and we need to do something about it. Also, staff are a waste of money and aren’t working hard enough.

You can see why, by the end, I had a very hard time following her arguments. The most useful thing she contributed were some ideas on waste management, though if that’s your issue, then Rod Muir is your candidate.

Where David disappointed was when he completely ignored a comment about the secret Gardiner Expressway report that he’s refusing to make public. If you’re going to be keeping reports a secret, the least you can do is explain why.

The highlight of the night, however, came after the debate, when three media outlets (CFRB 1010, 680 News, and The Toronto Star) interviewed me about what I thought of the candidates. “That’s funny,” I thought, “none of them ever interviewed me when I was a candidate.”

4 thoughts on “The First 2006 Toronto Mayoral Debate

  1. I agree 100% with you. She took two breathes in her opening remarks and was flying all over the place.

    Please let us at Spacing know when you write stuff about the election. Always good to see other city election bloggers.

  2. Look at & listen to the positives and the constructive ideas in any conversation or debate. If you want to understand everything and how all pieces fit together, then you need a conversation.

    Yes, one can spend too much and need to spend more. The former would be on low priorities and the latter on higher priorities. Just as an example.

  3. If Jane meant to suggest that we spend less in one area and more in others, that’s not what she said (except for saying that too much money is “tied up” in staff). My comment was in reference to her complaint that city spending is out of control, which David explained was mostly “investment” in infrastructure. Later on in the debate, Jane said we needed more “investment” in infrastructure. So she seemed to want to spend more and less in the same area.

    If she has a more detailed plan, she didn’t explain it, and it’s not on her website.

  4. Jane’s campaign office is at Dunas West and Pacific in the Junction area. I pass it most mornings abd every afternoon taking my kids to and from school. It rarely seems busy.

    The was a “for rent after Nov 15” sign in the window, which Eye (or was it Now?) Magazine made fun of.

    The sign went missing just a few days ago. Hmmmm…

    She’s not a real contender. Too bad. I don’t like her policies (though she is against the Front Street extension car-nage fiasco), but Miller needs to be compared to someone reasonable for the job.

    Someone better, actually.

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