The three leading mayoral candidates met again for a heated debate held by the Toronto Real Estate Board Tuesday. With less than a week until election day, John Tory, Olivia Chow and Doug Ford left everything on the table.
Below are some highlights:
1. Olivia Chow was booed on the first question
Olivia Chow’s answer to whether she would commit to eliminating the city’s land transfer tax was not quite what the realtor-packed audience wanted to hear:
Chow: “No, I will not be reducing the tax… I’m just being upfront.”
“If we reduced the $300 million in revenue, the city’s property tax will dramatically increase so we can not allow that to happen.”
2. Doug Ford received a big applause when he promised to cut 15 per cent of the land transfer tax “right off the hop”
Doug Ford has been vocal over his campaign about getting rid of the tax, dovetailing on a promise his brother, Mayor Rob Ford, also made four years ago.
Ford: “A lot of my friends here want to tax, tax, tax; spend, spend, spend. I don’t believe in taxing and spending. I believe in saving and putting the money back into the people’s pocket of this great city.”
3. “Where are the engineering studies?”
Things got a bit heated between Chow and John Tory over how they plan to execute their respective transit plans.
Chow: “How many kilometers of tunneling are you going to have on Eglinton?”
Tory: “How many houses or other buildings of any kind are you going to have to be demolished on the downtown relief line? Can you tell us that?”
Chow: “Yes I can…there are a lot of of studies being done on [the downtown relief line].
Tory: “How do you get in?”
Chow: “Where are the engineering studies [for SmartTrack]?
Ford: “While I have two friends arguing how to destroy transit in this city with LRTs, I’m the only candidate that’s building subways.”
4. “You can’t declare bankruptcy for the city. You will have to make the tough decision”
Chow asked Tory what he’ll do if his SmartTrack funding doesn’t pan out. Then the crowd booed him after he skirted around the question.
Chow: “Please don’t give me a non-answer like ‘I don’t need to consider alternatives because I’m confident.’”
Tory: “The fact of the matter is, Olivia, I am confident.”
Ford: “You went around and around and around, never answered the question”
5. Ford reminds us, again, of his “phenomenal, phenomenal relationship” with the Prime Minister
Ford brought up his friendship with Prime Minister Stephen Harper several times, saying he talked to him a year ago about getting the Scarborough subway, which has yet to be built.
Ford: “I’ll be speaking to my friend the Prime Minister about delivering subways along Sheppard, along Finch, along Eglinton.”