Toronto

Doug Ford calls debate audience 'ignorant'

Strict time limits and a ''no heckling" rule kept attendees on message and, for the most part, well-behaved as the candidates to be Toronto's next mayor debated the issues once again.
Doug Ford drew an unintended laugh at Friday's debate upon describing the early days of his family's label company as 'a little mom and pop shop [that] was only doing a couple hundred — couple of million dollars a year.' (CBC)

Strict time limits and a "no heckling" rule kept attendees on message and, for the most part, well-behaved as the candidates to be Toronto's next mayor debated the issues once again on Friday night.

With only one minute to answer questions from the moderator and 30 seconds for rebuttals, John Tory, Olivia Chow and Doug Ford spoke quickly but struggled nonetheless to make their points about transit and taxes to the audience at Runnymede United Church.

"These questions are like lightning," Ford remarked at one point, before suggesting they should be allowed more time.

Tory also seemed flummoxed upon being asked a two-part, 31-word question about the budget, accountability and civilian oversight of the police.

"All of that in one minute?" he asked.

Tensions rose more than once. Ford, who often paints his rivals as well-heeled elites, was asked to reconcile that criticism with his own family's considerable wealth. His response, that there is "a difference between being successful and being entitled," brought both boos and applause from the crowd.

Appealing to the moderator for calm, Ford said, "Some of these folks, a lot of them are pretty ignorant."

He then drew an unintended laugh upon describing the early days of his family's label company as "a little mom and pop shop [that] was only doing a couple hundred couple of million dollars a year."

But the night was also marked by civility and expressions of respect among the candidates who have had frequent, heated exchanges during the long run for Toronto's top job.

Tory lauded Ford for his accomplishments in business while Ari Goldkind, one of two additional candidates who addressed the crowd at the end of the debate, applauded further remarks Tory made in favour of civility and co-operation in politics.

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