Doug Ford and John Tory called on one another for apologies at a debate on Monday night, while Olivia Chow chided her two opponents for not doing enough to stamp out hateful speech on the campaign trail.
The three high-profile Toronto mayoral candidates were participating in a debate being held at Centennial College's Progress Campus, near Highway 401 and Markham Road.
Partway through the debate, Chow, Ford and Tory were asked what steps they will take to prevent and dispel the use of prejudicial speech in the city.
Tory was the first to answer, saying that he believed the mayor should lead by example, but also that education is part of the answer.
'I have to question his judgment'
Ford followed, accusing Tory of calling him "a racist… a homophobic [sic] and called me anti-Semitic," adding that he is awaiting an apology from his opponent for a statement that was issued by Tory's campaign the previous day.
"Everyone in this city knows Doug Ford is not a racist," Ford said. "Him even saying that, I have to question his judgment."
Tory replied that he had not suggested Ford was "any of those things," directing Ford to read the release the Tory campaign issued Sunday night.
"You had two occasions to issue an apology yourself last night and didn't do so," he said.
"The one was for Mayor Ford's comments which were unacceptable in the context of the Jewish faith, and secondly, for your own comments which in 2014 or any other time were clearly inappropriate, and you didn't apologize for that last night. And so, I think the apology should more properly be coming not once, but maybe twice from you."
Tory was referring to Ford's comments at a debate the night before about "my doctor — my Jewish doctor — my Jewish dentist, my Jewish lawyer, accountant..."
Earlier in the day, Ford had already been asked about the remarks he had made during Sunday’s debate.
"What I was trying to say — I wasn't able to finish my comments: The Ford family has an extensive relationship, a great relationship with the Jewish community," he said. "Matter of fact, my wife is Jewish, her mother is Jewish. They have to come after me? You've got to be joking."
'We should not tolerate it'
Chow was the third to respond to the question.
Summarizing some of the hateful comments that have been directed at her during the campaign, Chow said she carries on, but there are other people being hurt by the same types of words.
Specifically, Chow recalled an incident in which a person at a debate told her to go "back to China," an incident in which she wished her fellow candidates had come to her defence at the time.
"It is hateful. We should not tolerate it. When we see it, when we hear it, we need to stop it, we need to call it out immediately," she said.
Tory, in his response to Ford, also referenced the incident Chow cited.
He said Chow "spoke very eloquently about the matter" and thus there was no need to add to it at that time. Tory noted that he had subsequently spoken to the media and said that there was "absolutely no place for those comments."
The Oct. 27 municipal election is three weeks away. There are dozens of candidates seeking the mayoralty, in addition to the three who participated in Monday night's event.