Earlier this week, a 90-minute Toronto mayoral debate hosted by the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) and Zoomer Radio took place at Zoomer headquarters in Liberty Village. And we were pleasantly surprised to be welcomed into the debate with open arms and take part in the post-debate media scrum. (Alas, the “handlers” of at least two candidates were mightily upset by our presence and our questions, but kudos to CARP and Zoomer for standing up for press freedom. What a concept!).
There were some new faces at the debate as opposed to the du rigueur six-pack of establishment favourites consisting of Ana Bailão, Brad Bradford, Olivia Chow, Mitzie Hunter, Josh Matlow, and Mark Saunders. Former Toronto Sun columnist Anthony Furey was on hand, as was analyst Chloe Brown, who finished in third place in last October’s mayoral election with almost 35,000 votes.
Things got heated at times. Right-of -centre candidate Furey, who supports a “family-first policy”, condemned the current municipal practice of operating so-called “safe injection” sites. This prompted current city councillor Matlow to fire back, accusing Furey of “fear-mongering.”
But there were some more fireworks to be had in the media scrum as the handlers of current city councillor Anna Bailao and former Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders complained to an organizer about the presence of Rebel News and our “impolite” questions. To their credit, the organizer did not bend the knee.
And little wonder certain candidates did not like our prickly questions. One journalist at the scrum asked the following queries to all the candidates: what’s your favourite restaurant in Toronto? Where do you buy your groceries? Where do you buy your coffee? How do you get around Toronto? Tom Clark, that journalist who is consumed with what brand of shampoo Justin Trudeau uses on his lovely locks, is no doubt green with envy…
And say, what’s the deal with comrade Olivia Chow? If you believe the polls, Chow is the prohibitive favourite in this mayoral byelection. And yet again, she skipped the press scrum. Apparently she is embracing the Joe Biden method of campaigning (namely, hiding in her basement until election day).
In any event, check out our Q&A session with Anna Bailao, Josh Matlow and Anthony Furey. As for ex-Chief Saunders? Stay tuned: we have a major story regarding his campaign that will be published in the days ahead…