John Tory decided to withdraw from the Transit debate at Ryerson yesterday.
Giving organizers 2 hours notice that he isn’t attending left Olivia Chow the only candidate to discuss transit.
Chow called out Tory saying he is “scared”. Chow addressed the audience with her plans for LRTs and a DRL with more buses now. It ended up a question and answer period between the moderator and Chow. The debate was supposed to feature the Top 4 candidates. Rob Ford dropped out and the replacement, Doug Ford has yet to begin his campaign, and Soknacki dropped out last week. Leaving it to be just Olivia and John. But a fight that Tory continues to keep punching wasn’t there to defend itself.
The choice that John Tory made to skip the transit debate made it seem that he truly doesn’t have belief that his Smart Track plan can really work. He has defended this plan at other debates though. Yet, when it came to the main debate of transit itself he decided to back out.
Yes, I understand that there’s almost a debate everyday (sometimes twice a day), but for such an important issue that affects all Torontoians and something he has pushed on for a while, it’s mind boggling why he didn’t attend. Tory’s Smart Track plan may possibly be his strongest platform and his strongest argument at debates.
I spoke to one of my friends who is a transit enthusiast (Yes, they exist). He told me that the plan is physically impossible to work. Something to do with the rails not fitting the subway trains on the GO tracks. A bit confusing, but there are some flaws in his plan. For the record it’s not called the Downtown Relief Line (which has been said by the TTC that the DRL is the top priority). I’m not going to get too deep into the conversation about transit because it can get easily dirty.
But back to the debate. A candidate named D!onne Renee (Yes that is an “!” in her name, and it’s not the way Russell Peters would pronounce it), crashed the one candidate debate. I spoke to her on sunday while I was at the G98.7 round table for candidates. She informed me that she finds it unfair that she isn’t invited to these debates that only consist of the Top 5 (now 3) candidates. She continued to question my decision on who I should vote for. I told her I am completely torn between candidates (I won’t say who), yet she insisted that I needed to think about the 2%. Which was apparently us. I asked if she knows she’s not going to win, yet she insisted if she doesn’t win, it’s the media’s fault. Somewhat even scared me a bit, she stared right into my eyes as if she was trying to hypnotize me in such a way. She warned me that she would crash the Ryerson debate if they don’t include her saying that now Soknacki dropped, there’s an open spot. And if Doug Ford were to take Rob Ford’s vacated spot it also won’t be fair. She crashed it, and security escorted her away.
Tory said he will also be skipping a bunch of debates. As did Rob Ford said a few weeks ago. Debates can take a huge toll on candidates, and the fact that there is about 20 or so left, it will start to get boring. Olivia is a nice lady, and her rejection for debates are highly unlikely. So if Tory and Ford both decide to skip the next 20 or so debates, it would leave Olivia Chow alone with long shot candidates, which to her is simple and could be done with her eyes closed.
We will just have to wait and see.