LISTEN: Challengers dance on edge of Rob Ford's scandals at first mayoral debate

Ford, Chow, Tory, Stintz & Soknacki duke it out

Rob Ford came frequently under attack Wednesday during the first televised mayoral debate, but none of the main candidates vying for his job mentioned the so-called ``crack'' video or other scandals that have put him and Toronto on the international map.

Instead, they mostly opted to attack him on local issues, including his plans for a subway, unemployment and the frequent disarray he has caused at city hall.

Ford, who at times rolled his eyes, stared at the ceiling and flashed grins at the audience, defended his fiscal record as he shot back at the other four candidates.

"Four years ago, I was elected to stop the gravy train," Ford said, thumping a familiar drum.

"I have stopped the gravy train."

Former NDP member of Parliament, Olivia Chow, was quick to shoot him down.

"It's time for you to go because your gravy train has turned into a train wreck," Chow said.

"You need to pack up that nonsense you're talking about."

Chow was the first candidate to allude to but not mention Ford's well known problems, including smoking crack cocaine in a drunken stupor and spouting obscenities on live television, that have elevated him to TV talk show fodder and made him a recognizable name around the world.

"We've had it with the scandals and lack of truth," she said. "It's time to go because you're embarrassing our city."

Ford did not bite. Instead he insisted that he was the only candidate with a ``proven'' track record.

"People have heard the story. It's rewind, rewind, rewind," Ford said.

"You can carry on about someone's personal life. Maybe I'm not perfect."

Asked about their hesitation to tackle Ford directly on the scandals, the candidates said they preferred to talk policy.

"My big disappointment with Rob Ford, even beyond the scandals, is with his performance," said David Soknacki, a former city budget chief, after the debate.

"I'm dealing with the public side of it and am very much dealing with the issues of holding him to account for his lack of performance."

American TV comedian, Jimmy Kimmel, who has frequently made fun of the mayor, tweeted at one point:


 Ford, his face red, was often content to let the others debate among themselves, but didn't hesitate to jump in.

"Everybody can talk about saving money: I've done it," he said. "We don't need a left-wing tax-and-spend NDP government."

When Chow, a former city councillor, talked about her work on the budget committee, Ford shot back: "You sunk the ship."

Former provincial Progressive Conservative party leader, John Tory, said Ford had "run out of gas" given his inability to get anything through a council that has stripped him of most of his powers because of the scandals.

The businessman accused the mayor of letting taxpayers down and ruining the city's reputation. Ford simply said he didn't expect that of his opponent.

Mostly, though, it was Chow and Ford who went at each other during the two-hour debate.

"It's time to take down the circus tent at city hall," Chow said, saying the mayor had made Toronto "an international embarrassment."

Voters will choose whether Ford remains in office or will be replaced Oct. 27.

RELATED: "Ford is the only candidate who can really feel good"

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  1. Jim posted on 03/26/2014 07:48 AM
    Let's see, two lefties, a nobody, a crack smoker and a turncoat with questionable integrity. What a great selection.

    Oh how I miss Mel Lastman.
    1. HP posted on 03/26/2014 01:32 PM
      @Jim I miss June Rowlands, she was a drinker like Ford, banned The Bare Naked Ladies from playing at City Hall, and may have had early onset dementia like Lastman. Every city needs a clown in office every few years, perhaps Toronto is now ready for a real leader after the turmoil of the last few years.

      Toronto is in for some tough times as the revenue from lot levies and new condo construction and sales drops, the Pan Am games will hurt as well. We need a new leader that will get us back to being known as a clean and safe city...a city where people want to visit. A mayor that represents all of the city...the gays, poor, corporate, and all taxpayers, not just those that vote for him/her. Downtown is part of Toronto and needs representation as well.
    2. dama posted on 04/08/2014 03:48 PM
      @HP Unlike mayor in the US who has the power to hire and fire, the policing of a safe city does not belong to the mayor... it falls under the Police Services Board and this board is also weak..

      I dont know your definition of "real leader".. is JT a real leader or Olivia Chow a real leader.. I think Rob Ford is a real leader based on his track record and not on his scandals.then you will bet to differ..

      Is a real leader, someone who is honest, well spoken and no track record or records of tax and spend ,, like O Chow or someone like JT who is well spoken and elitist but no tracj record for he lost in the Provincial election he lost against Miller and also a bye election in Haliburton???
  2. Alicia posted on 03/26/2014 08:37 AM
    ABC, easy as 123, simple as do-re-mi, ABC, ANYONE BUT CHOW, now who's with me?
    1. Mercedes posted on 03/26/2014 09:59 AM
      @Alicia i guess someone is, but not the ones who love this city
    2. Karl Burgin posted on 03/26/2014 12:26 PM
      @Alicia I'm with you....ANYONE BUT CHOW ;p
    3. Alicia posted on 03/26/2014 12:36 PM
      @Mercedes I'm against Chow specifically because I love this city, and don't want to see it go down the same road as that famous union Mecca: DETROIT.

      Face it folks, that's the vision of a Dipper like Chow: An entire world of Detroits.
    4. Steven posted on 03/27/2014 02:38 AM
      @Karl Burgin Good. Vote for Mayor Quimby, you freak.
  3. AdrianoC1981 posted on 03/26/2014 09:16 AM
    Are they going to have a translater present for when Olivia Chow speaks? Not for anything but I can barely understand her when she speaks. Actually, maybe that's a good thing considering that I may vomit all over myself if I could really understand her.

    "Mrs. Chow, what do you think about the transit situation in Toronto"?
    "Well, ummmmm, you see, ummmm, oh yeah! SPEND, SPEND, SPEND, SPEND, SPEND".

    "What about your view on children and families"?
    "Oh, that's an easy one" SPEND, SPEND, SPEND, SPEND, and SPEND".

    "Very we'll. And your thoughts towards freezing councillors wages for the near future"?
    "That has too be the easiest of all the questions. SPEND, SPEND, SPEND, SPEND and MORE SPEND. They really do deserve raises seeing that they work so hard".

    "So, let me get this straight Mrs. Chow, your idea of helping Toronto is to SPEND, SPEND, SPEND"?
    "We'll, ummmmmm, you see, ummmmmm, YES, SPEND, SPEND, SPEND".

    If this is the Toronto that you are looking forward to, then by all means, vote Olivia chow. If not, please follow the following instructions:

    1. Peter posted on 03/26/2014 01:20 PM
      @AdrianoC1981 Yes, she does have language issues that will hinder her campaign for any office. Good catch, I believe you've found the chink in her armor.
    2. Mark7 posted on 03/26/2014 01:34 PM
      @AdrianoC1981 Did Ford need a translator to tell what Bumbaclot means?
    3. Jenn posted on 03/26/2014 10:55 PM
      @Peter Racist jokes are NOT funny and NOT appropriate. I am not supporting her mayoral candidacy, but she has successfully run for office for 2 levels of government. You know this.
    4. Steven posted on 03/27/2014 02:43 AM
      @Jenn Are you bipolar or something? Just wondering.
    5. Townie posted on 03/27/2014 10:14 AM
      @Steven Nevermind picking on Jenn, your pic looks like it could be a police "elderly man with dementia is missing" poster.
    6. Townie posted on 03/27/2014 10:18 AM
      @Peter "Hinder her campaign for any office?" You do realize that she just stepped down as a federal MP, and was a former Toronto City Councillor before that, right? You must be smoking the same crack Ford is. Not a coincidence either, since Ford demonstrated his racism towards Asians when he said "Orientals work like dogs."
  4. r2d2 posted on 03/26/2014 10:04 AM
    mayor Ford what's your opinion on the troubling issues we have in this city with youth crime gang activity and guns and drugs?
    1. Sonny posted on 03/26/2014 05:31 PM
      @r2d2 He'll smile or laugh and change the topic or else run...
    2. Townie posted on 03/27/2014 10:20 AM
      @Sonny He'll make up some more stories about how he was saving marginalized youth with his football coaching. Even the school didn't want him around anymore & booted him to the door.
  5. CoffeeCon posted on 03/26/2014 10:09 AM
    The only two candidates worth a vote in this race are Tory and Ford.
    1. Fact Provider posted on 03/26/2014 10:17 AM
      @CoffeeCon The only ONE candidate worth a vote in this race is Tory.
    2. John posted on 03/26/2014 12:21 PM
      @CoffeeCon Ford won't be even on the final list come Oct. 27. won't happen and shouldn't happen
    3. Karl Burgin posted on 03/26/2014 12:26 PM
      @John It is good to hope...
    4. Jack posted on 03/26/2014 12:38 PM
      @John Ford won by a landslide last time. And if it comes down to a choice between a crackhead or a lunatic like Chow, voters will make the responsible choice and elect him by a landslide again.

    5. MarkFromEtobicoke posted on 03/26/2014 01:37 PM
      @Jack The 2010 election had Ford at 47.1% to Smitherman at 35.6% That was a decisive win but hardly a landslide. I think that plenty of conservative (small "C") voters are currently parking their votes with Ford which is why Ford is polling at around 30% but that will fade as election day nears. I predict that Ford will get 10-15% on October 27.
  6. john posted on 03/26/2014 12:35 PM
    i watched the show last night . (eiher that or watch the leafs loose . cough ** )

    major snore feast . politics gets boring for me cause it is the same crap all over again .
    1. john's mom posted on 03/26/2014 03:31 PM
      @john i told u beefore john its not politics thats boring its cuz u cant pai attenshun for mor then a minute . now be good boy an gobak 2 ur room .
    2. John's dad posted on 03/27/2014 02:41 AM
      @john's mom Oyy! Get back into the kitchen and make me a sandwich u lazy whore!!
  7. Alex posted on 03/26/2014 04:52 PM
    I would vote for Rob Ford if the ballot said 'Criminal of the Year'.
    1. Mark7 posted on 03/26/2014 05:02 PM
      @Alex That's not fair. Rob Ford has been the best mayor in Toronto's history. He saved us $1 billion, promised to eliminate the Land Transfer Tax, is building 3 new stops on the Scarborough subway, has introduced team dynamics by sharing power with the Deputy Mayor. Just imagine his potential accomplishments in the next four years, he'll eliminate pinko cyclists, privatize everything that moves, including his office, move City Hall to Etobicoke, make his brother Doug the Chief of Police, put the city on his drug plan...I get goose bumps just thinking about it.

    2. Sonny posted on 03/26/2014 05:44 PM
      @Mark7 That is a lie Ford did not save $1 Billion. ALL of his budgets have been greater than Miller's last
    3. Mark7 posted on 03/26/2014 05:59 PM
      @Sonny OK, he may have fudged the numbers little bit, included a few things that he should not have included. Yes our taxes have gone up as well as service charges for less service. But that's what makes him a great CFO at Deco Labels, creative accounting, cooking the books, lying...he has great talent. He says he has 900 employees but Doug says it's Rob padding the payroll? Who knows?

      The bottom line is that he saved us billions, even when paying David Price $125,000 + bonus for not showing up at a job that didn't exist, putting two football coaches on the city payroll, even staying late at the office to drink and party...he's still a saint.

      It can only get better, the last thing we need are more pinkos, and I want to see what Don Cherry wears at the next inauguration.

    4. Sonny posted on 03/26/2014 06:19 PM
      @Mark7 Ford's $9.4 Billion, $9.41 Billion, $9.43 Billion projected, $9.6 Billion projected vs Miller's $9.2 Billion means his Administration is costing more by over $1 Billion.
      Property taxes have gone up the last 3 years!
    5. Alex posted on 03/26/2014 09:25 PM
      @Mark7 I really don't care to hear the same ol, same ol.

      Fords legacy is cut in stone and it's not a good one.
    6. Mark7 posted on 03/27/2014 07:39 AM
      @Sonny So what?...who are you going to believe, your bank statement or Rob Ford, our sainted leader?...after the debate, he's has been given the Divine Right to rule for as many terms as he wants, then support his kids to run.

      He may have his flaws, like lying, drugging, drinking, and having his enemies beaten and maybe killed, but deep down inside he's just a cuddly teddy bear. As they say, voters get the governments they deserve.

  8. DocAndRoll posted on 03/26/2014 09:17 PM
    AdrianoC1981...nothing for nothing but you are a bigoted a**hole. I personally do not like Olivia Chows politics, but I respect her as a person and a politician standing up for what she believes in. She was perfectly clear to me but I am educated, perhaps you are not.
    I personally like Mr. Tory and was impressed by his detail. He is the only one out there that can bring Toronto to the glory she deserves. Mr. Ford was impressive but running a city with no support and being the brunt of jokes detracts from the business at hand. Mr. Tory...I truly hope you continue to speak up and let the people see that you are the only true choice to lead Toronto in a direction of respect, common sense and a balanced budget. Wake up Toronto...get behind John Tory!
    1. AdrianoC1981 posted on 03/26/2014 10:07 PM
      @DocAndRoll Why if I may ask are you calling me a "bigoted a**hole"? I was merely sharing my own personal opinion. As for the education part, I too am educated. Educated enough to own and operate a business (that is doing very well for that matter). I post with my real name, unlike some cowards that hide behind their keyboards(DocAndRoll) and I am not afraid to share my thoughts. Just because you don't agree with my comments, there's no need to start name calling. You claim to be an educated person, yet the first spiel that protrudes out of your mouth is an insult. Rational, educated people would probably find another way to get their point across, but who am I to judge. Nobody's perfect. That is why I will put my vote behind Mayor Rob Ford come Election Day because I feel he is the best candidate for the job.
  9. Alex posted on 03/26/2014 09:27 PM
    All you Ford Nation'rs make sure you get out and vote!
    That way we can tell just how low the numbers of you have dropped.
  10. Alex posted on 03/26/2014 09:33 PM
    Hey Rob and Doug

    1. AdrianoC1981 posted on 03/26/2014 09:42 PM
      @Alex Hey Alex. Pay attention son.

      Which mayoral candidate do you think won the first major debate?
      Olivia Chow. 14.2%
      Rob Ford. 49.7%
      David Soknacki. 3.9%
      Karen Stintz. 1.3%
      John Tory. 31.0%
    2. Alex posted on 03/26/2014 10:08 PM
      @AdrianoC1981 You forgot to mention that this is Rob Fords home station and that makes your poll mean dick all.
    3. AdrianoC1981 posted on 03/26/2014 10:12 PM
      @Alex You do know that John Tory had a show that he hosted on 1010 up until maybe a month ago right?
    4. Alex posted on 03/26/2014 10:17 PM
      @AdrianoC1981 Maybe his numbers are inflated too!
      Rob is a has been liar and he insults the public with his half truths and playing stupid.

      Truly what a sad state of politics when this is the kind of trash that is put in charge of the truck!
    5. Townie posted on 03/27/2014 10:28 AM
      @AdrianoC1981 Nice spin, "son." Those aren't voter intention polls. Any even-keel observer could have seen Ford performed well, but one debate early in the campaign means little, especially when it does not indicate who the voters will actually cast their ballot for come Oct 27. But hey, knock yourself out with some complementary crack if that's what floats your boat, paisan.
    6. AdrianoC1981 posted on 03/27/2014 12:05 PM
      @Townie Do you actually think that any of the other 100 debates will transpire any differently? Mayor Ford is like a cornered raccoon that will claw through anything to get to where he wants. Yes, I do believe that Mr. Tory and Mrs. Chow will eventually turn their focus towards the so called "scandals" that have followed the mayor around for months on end, but do you honestly believe that either one can really combat Mayor Ford's tenacity? I really don't think so. In regards to the polls released, yes, nothing scientific and not really so called "voter intention polls" but anyone who supports a candidate would hesitate to cast a vote(scientific or not) against said candidate that they plan on voting for come October 27, 2014. Thank you for your comments. Have a great day.
  11. Alex posted on 03/26/2014 10:10 PM
    "I wasn't elected to be perfect"~Rob Ford

    But you were elected to be decent and that makes you a big failure.
  12. Alex posted on 03/26/2014 10:13 PM
    When is ol Robby Ford going to say something new vs. the same old same old?

    Tell his script writers to come back from vacation because Rob Ford is becoming so boring saying the same script time after time after time.
  13. Alex posted on 03/26/2014 10:24 PM
    Rob Ford would make a good drunken trailer park supervisor.
    Check in at Sunny Vale Trailer Park Rob and they can write you and your questionable character brother into the script.
  14. Fact Provider posted on 03/27/2014 05:52 AM
    Ford was the only one who stayed on message.
    Unfortunately, the message was full of half truths and hollow rhetoric.

    Chow tried too hard to be everyone's person.
    She came off as shallow.

    Tory was the only one who seemed to have a sensible outlook on things but he needs to step up his game significantly. He did not look "leaderly" at all.

    Stintz and Soknacki were not factors despite trying hard to be heard in the din of that extremely poor format.
    1. Alex posted on 03/27/2014 06:01 AM
      @Fact Provider Tory is just playing nice right now. You got to remember that him and Ford come from the same fiscal camp.
      He knows that outside of the ring all the viewers know what a total screw up Ford is and unfortunately Ford isn't bright enough to realize that.
      Also Rob Ford is so repetitious with his same old outdated jingle called "look what I have done (and then tells us). Meanwhile we know everything he has done while he plays the avoidance game.

      Tory is Rob Fords biggest opponent.

      May the better man win (John Tory), and bring some pride back to the city.
    2. Fact Provider posted on 03/27/2014 06:46 AM
      @Alex 100% agreement from me on everything you said.
      Tory is Ford's most worrisome opponent, especially if he steps up his game.
      I honestly think that Left-Wing Olivia will fade as things go on.

      Later on both Stintz and Soknacki will end up delivering their share of votes to Tory. They hold merely parked votes.

      And don't forget for a minute that Ford may well be facing some real legal problems sooner rather than later.
  15. Mike from the hinterland posted on 03/27/2014 06:50 AM
    How many debates are you going to have! They are starting this early. What the hell is this? Federal and Provincial politicians only have 6-10 week campaigns on average. I am glad I do not live in the Republic of Toronto.

    Rob Ford looked good at this debate.

    Olivia retire and enjoy your MP pension.

    John retire and enjoy yourself

    Karen not sure what you are doing

    Dave I think no more millerites

    If these four made Rob Ford look good, heaven help the Republic of Toronto!
    1. Alex posted on 03/27/2014 06:59 AM
      @Mike from the hinterland Rob Ford doesn't look great. Everyone can play nice (and not talk about his behaviour) because everyone knows he is a total screw up.

      Rob Ford just comes out with the same old tired lines time after time.
      People are getting so tired of him and his double personality.

      John Tory is the future of Toronto.
  16. Alex posted on 03/27/2014 07:02 AM
    Rob Ford:
    Pack up your circus and get out of town.
    People are tired of your act and your clown like behaviour.
    1. AdrianoC1981 posted on 03/27/2014 08:28 AM
      @Alex TODAY'S POLL
      Which mayoral candidate do you think won the first major debate?
      Olivia Chow. 11.9%
      Rob Ford. 58.6%
      David Soknacki. 2.3%
      Karen Stintz. 1.1%
      John Tory. 26.0%
  17. Edna Johnston-Earl posted on 03/27/2014 08:10 AM
    The real loosers in last nights debate are the citizens of Toronto! All of the candidates let down the people of this fine city by not making Rob Ford accountable for his actions. Anything positive this man has done in office has been wiped out because of his lack of respect for the office of Mayor and the people he works for! It was the most frustrating disorganized debate I've ever watched.
    Very hard and painfull to watch. This is John Tory's to loose and he's well on his way unless he balls up and fights for the citizens of Toronto. Very dissapointing!
    1. Sonny posted on 03/27/2014 09:44 AM
      @Edna Johnston-Earl Ford will get a lot of Newstalk listeners. Chow will get a lot of CBC listeners. As for Tory, Chow got in her Golf zinger. The unscientific poll of viewers gave it to her 43% vs Tory's 19% She should just focus on Liberal females rather than angry Conservatives...
    2. Benny8 posted on 03/27/2014 09:55 AM
      @Edna Johnston-Earl It's way, way too early to draw any conclusions about the candidates from the first debate. I think the the four challengers to Ford were just feeling each other out. Really, at this point nobody is paying attention and polls are absolutely meaningless. Lots of time for them to sharpen their attacks on Ford. Remember, at this time in their respective races, Barbara Hall and George Smitherman were a shoo-in to win.

      Now, come September, and if none of these folks has been able to deliver a knock-out punch to such an easy target as Ford, then they really don't deserve the mayor's chair either.
  18. Karl Burgin posted on 03/27/2014 08:42 AM
    Hmmm....if last night is any indication of how this race is going to go, how deluded do the extremists think Ford nation is now?

    Ford came out on top, and the CFRB hosts I've from so far seem to almost be in a state of shock- especially since their front-man John Tory wasn't entirely optimal.
    It's still a long way to go. But Stinsk and Socknacki should just pack it in.
    1. Mark7 posted on 03/27/2014 08:54 AM
    2. Peter posted on 03/27/2014 09:02 AM
      @Karl Burgin .
      I agree with you Karl.
      Mayor Ford is running for a touch down. Such a natural.

      Good going Mayor Ford.

      Thank you NewsTalk 1010
    3. Karl Burgin posted on 03/27/2014 09:15 AM
      @Peter I was switching between 1010 and AM 640 (between commercial breaks), and I listened to Sue Ann Levy comment on how Ford is an amazing campaigner- the only critique she has is she wished he spent more time actually doing work in City Hall.
      My counter(s) to that is:
      *Isn't that why Norm Kelly was elected by Council- to do Ford's work?
      *Whatever work Ford does, it seems council's primary role is to be a s counter-productive as possible

      I'm only itching to hear Bill Carroll's take on this later.

      On another note, I strongly believe Tory should leave the city to Ford, and take care of business on the provincial level. There's yet another poll that if an election was held today, Wynne would win.
      Tory would fare so much better taking over for Hudak as leader. The only reason why the Liberals would be voted is because people in the GTA don't want Hudak- even though out of the 3 parties, the Conservatives are involved in anything criminal. (NDP are guilty of supporting Liberals when there was a threat to an election- which makes them "an accessory").

      For the greater good of all, Tory should bow out of this race, and replace Hudak. We simply cannot afford an election won by the Liberals.
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