Later in the debate a surprise video by John Tory was played. “Are you ready to step up and be the kind of mayor that gives us streamlined government, that gives us humane government, and that’s going to give us civilized debate at city hall?” he asked the candidates.
The strange thing was that they never had a chance to answer, moderator Susan Eng simply moved to the next question when the video finished.
Eng also abruptly interrupted Pantalone while he was speaking about provincial downloading. “You know what? That’s not going to help us to blame the provincial government. Tell us what you’re going to do at city hall,” she said.
CARP conducted a poll after the debate that revealed Smitherman was the clear winner. 18 per cent of the audience said they would vote for him prior to debate, but that number jumped to 43 per cent afterwards.
Rossi also made some inroads with the crowd, jumping from 17 per cent to 23. The rest of the candidates failed to make any improvements.
At the end of the forum the candidates were encouraged to sign a pledge to make Toronto an age friendly city. They all signed except Ford. CP24 reports he said he couldn’t commit to the pledge without knowing what it costs.
The debate’s problem was Eng’s tendency to ask multiple questions at once–at least three at time. This didn’t force anyone to stay on topic and made it easy to offer general answers. At one point Eng packed five questions into one. She asked:
“How will we see an end to everlasting road construction? How will you get the budget under control and keep taxes as low as possible? What would you do to govern the city better? How would you make sure that debate at city hall would be civilized? And by the way, what do you think about term limits?”
However, relative to the slug-fest-one-liner CP24 debates we’ve seen recently, the CARP debate was lively and engaging.
And despite the obvious resonance Smitherman had with the crowd, the forum also showed Ford’s talent for presenting a concise message. While the rest of the candidates squirmed to offer proposals to help the aged, Ford railed against excessive city spending.
This might not help seniors, but the clear (and singular) message he consistently brings to debates is what he’s pinned his election hopes on.
Keywords: seniors, election