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"

Leave a comment:

showing all comments · Subscribe to comments
Comment Like
  • 61
  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. 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. 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?
  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...
  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
  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 .
  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.

  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%
  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.
  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
showing all comments

Your GTA

Sign Up For Breaking News Alerts

Becoming a member only takes 60 seconds! Members get access to exclusive information and products that non-members do not, including concert ticket presales, trips, advance notice on upcoming entertainment events, movie screening passes, music giveaways and more!

Login with Facebook

Stay connected 24/7! Receive breaking news and programming alerts right to your inbox. CLICK HERE to sign-up.

Today's Poll

Do you support giving Toronto Police more money in their budget, so they can immediately implement the 84 recommendations made in the report on how officers deal with people in crisis?

Voting is restricted to one vote every 24 hour(s) VoteResults

Top Stories